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Stock Exchange Signs Agreement to Permit Observant Jews to Wear Skullcaps at Work

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The New York Stock Exchange has signed a consent agreement with the City Commission on Human Rights to permit observant Jews to wear skullcaps, as required by their faith, in all areas of the exchange and at any time, the Commission announced today at a press conference. The agreement was negotiated by Howard Rhine, an attorney who is vice-president of the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA). The agreement stemmed from a complaint filed with the Commission by Abraham Goldstein of Forest Hills, N.Y. an exchange employee, who said he had initially been permitted to wear his skullcap at work on his agreement not to do so on the trading floor during trading hours to avoid “disturbing the brokers.” The 25-year-old tube operator filed his complaint in January when a supervisor ordered him to remove his skullcap while on an upper level of the exchange. The employee charged religious discrimination. The Commission ordered a hearing on the complaint for May 7 which was postponed to May 18 in an effort to settle the issue without the hearing. Mr. Rhine, acting as attorney for the Orthodox Jew, arranged for the consent agreement.

On May 15, the Exchange circulated a memorandum to all department heads to the effect that the Exchange policy of permission “to wear hats” and other head covering while at work will be extended to permit any employee who is required to wear a hat or other form of head covering as a matter of religious belief to do so in all areas of Exchange premises.” In announcing the agreement, Mrs. Elinor Norton, Commission chairman, said also that the Commission was sending to all 1,400 employment agencies in New York City a letter advising that city laws bar religious discrimination, including discrimination against Sabbath observing Job applicants. Mr. Rhine told the press conference that COLPA was ready to negotiate all such conflicts between observant Jewish job applicants and job agencies and prospective employers. He said arrangements had been made for the Commission to inform COLPA of such situations and also to inform the complainants. Julius Berman, COLPA president, hailed the Commission announcement and said his agency was gratified that it was getting the cooperation of the city in such problems for observant Jews.

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