Hasidic employee sues Florida sheriff’s office for religious discrimination


(JTA) — A Hasidic Jewish employee in a Florida sheriff’s office is suing the department for religious discrimination.

Benjamin Newmark filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Fort Myers on Monday alleging that he was penalized for observing his religion and retaliated against for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is representing Newmark.

“It is not appropriate for us to comment on pending litigation beyond saying that we will defend the case appropriately,” a department spokeswoman said.

Newmark claims he was forced to shave his beard, not allowed to wear a kippah, subjected to anti-Semitic remarks and demoted from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office gang unit to the post of jail technician.

Among the slurs was having a Nazi Iron Cross flag placed outside his cubicle and being called a “weird, hairy little Jewish man,” the News-Press reported, citing lawsuit papers.

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