NEW YORK – The New York Police Department (NYPD) on Thursday reinstated a Muslim police officer who was suspended for not shaving his beard, while also agreeing to review its “no-beard policy”.
The previously suspended officer Masood Syed, who is of Pakistani heritage and used to work as a law clerk for the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Trials, had earlier been suspended without pay and stripped of his badge and gun for refusing to shave his beard.
Masood, however, filed a class-action lawsuit on June 22 in a Manhattan District Court challenging the constitutionality of the NYPD’s ban on beards. During the proceedings, a federal judge ordered the NYPD to continue paying Syed’s salary and benefits.
“I’m excited to be back at work,” Syed said in a statement. “It seems like the department has taken the crucial first step in addressing an important and growing concern of officers of many different faiths.”
This isn’t the first time an NYPD officer has sued the department over its no-beard policy. In 2012, the NYPD fired probationary officer Fishel Litzman for refusing to shave the one-inch beard he kept as a member of the Jewish Community.