Not promoted because of his beard? Prisons Officer files lawsuit

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Not promoted because of his beard? Prisons Officer files lawsuit

A prison officer who claims he was denied a promotion due to his facial hair, is now suing the Commissioner of Prisons.

Arshad Singh, an acting Prison Officer 2, who is attached to the Port-of-Spain prison, said that his beard is based on his religious beliefs as a practicing Muslim.

Singh was recently granted leave by Justice Margaret Mohammed in the San Fernando High Court to seek judicial review challenging the Commissioner’s failure to promote him.

Singh’s Attorney Imran Khan is contending that the decision is against his client’s constitutional rights and is unlawful.

He is asking the court to quash the Commissioner’s decision and order that he be promoted to the rank of Prison Officer 2.

In his affidavit, Singh said he was called to a promotion ceremony at the Prisons Training College to be promoted on September 23, 2022, but while there the commissioner refused to promote him because of his beard.

He said, “The decision, action or conduct of the Commissioner of Prisons in not promoting me on the 23rd September, 2022 when I was called out for the promotion ceremony to be promoted and receive my instrument of appointment for the substantive position of Prison Officer II is unlawful, in that it is illegal and/ or procedurally improper and/ or unreasonable.”

He is arguing that his promotion was approved by the Public Service Commission and the commissioner does not have the jurisdiction to reverse the PSC’s decision.