Turban Trouble

Imagine being permitted to wear a religious symbol to work at your government job -- but only if your employer's logo were incorporated into it. 

That's the controversial policy facing Sikh men and Muslim women who work for the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority.  Billed as a post-9/11 compromise between a regulation requiring employees to either wear MTA hats or go bareheaded and religious rules requiring head coverings, the policy has been challenged in court by the U.S. Department of Justice and criticized by a majority of the members of the City Council. 

Nevertheless, the MTA continues to defend its position, stating, "We believe that standardized uniforms assist our customers in quickly identifying employees if they need emergency assistance or just travel directions."  What does it say about our logomaniacal society that "standardized" means "overtly labeled"?  Isn't the rest of the required uniform sufficient to convey the information that an individual is an MTA employee?  Or is MTA really saying that the message sent by certain religious headwear is so loud (and scary) that it drowns out other sartorial signals and must be partially obscured by a governmental symbol?

MTA_turban_2.jpgWhat's next -- NYPD yarmulkes or Sanitation Department gold crucifixes? 

Via Uncivil Society, which calls the MTA policy "a stunning example of bureaucratic ignorance."