TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, January 12, 2009

IRS Agent, Fired for Wearing Knife to Work, Sues Claiming Religious Discrimination

Kirpan WebCPA:  Woman Sues IRS After She is Fired for Wearing Knife to Work, by Michael Cohn:

An IRS has sued the IRS for firing her after she insisted on wearing a ceremonial knife on the job.

The agent, Kawaljeet Kaur Tagore, filed suit against the IRS for discharging her in July 2006. She is a religious Sikh who wears a knife known as a kirpan. The blunt knife is kept in a curved sheath at her side. Tagore initially began wearing a 9-inch knife when she was formally initiated into the Sikh faith in April 2005. The religion requires adherents to wear five sacred articles of clothing.

After her supervisor objected, she switched it for a 6-inch kirpan with a blunt 3-inch blade. According to her lawsuit, the blade never set off the metal detectors in the Leland Building in Houston, and was not able to inflict bodily harm. However, her supervisor pointed out that federal law prohibits people from carrying blades longer than 2.5 inches in government buildings.

"She was always able to go through the metal detector, and it never beeped," said Harsimran Kaur, legal director of the Sikh Coalition, which is helping represent Tagore. ... Tagore refused to bring an even shorter knife with her to work, however. "It is a signifier of justice and it reminds the Sikh in particular to protect the weak," said Kaur.

After the disagreement with her supervisor, Tagore was permitted to work from home for nine months, but when her supervisor ordered her back to work with a shorter blade, she brought the same kirpan with her. Security officers barred her from the building, and she was fired shortly thereafter.

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The government taxes us every minute of every day (gas, food, electricity, communications, clothes, etc...). Then, the government takes even more taxes from us, out of our earned income, every year. Can someone please explain why B.O. thinks that we should continue to be taxed even when DEAD?

I can't believe that the death tax will NOT be repealed. Just does not make ANY sense to me. Unfortunately, due to being extremely liberal, Barack Obama will make poor decisions concerning taxing the citizens of the U.S. to death AND AFTER we expire.

Eleanor Mullaney

Posted by: Eleanor Mullaney | Jan 12, 2009 7:40:38 PM

'The government taxes us every minute..."

Yes, but you also benefit from collective actions taken by others on your behalf every minute. You drive on roads you didn't build, enjoy safety nearly unheard of until fairly recent in human history, and work at a job made possible by a fair and reasonably predictable body of laws, which in turn is monitored by elected officials on your behalf.

Sometimes the tax-to-benefit ratio gets out of balance, but it is ungrateful to the millions who sacrificed to make this country what it is, to act as if your'e doing it all yourself and the government is some sort of freeloader on your efforts.

Posted by: Liz | Jan 13, 2009 5:07:12 AM

I love how this was basically a very long, drawn-out haggling process:

"Boss, can I take a nine-inch knife to work?"

"Absolutely not. Never."

"Oh, okay. What about a six-inch knife? I'll throw in some blade-blunting for free."

"Heavens, no. A 2.5-inch blade is the best I can do."


Posted by: Taxrascal | Jan 14, 2009 9:45:33 PM