Updated: Thursday, 12 May 2011, 4:13 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 11 May 2011, 10:30 PM MDT
ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) - Shave the beard or lose your job: A paramedic is suing an Española hospital, saying he was forced to leave his job because of his facial hair.
Sahaj Khalsa was a paramedic for Española Hospital for nine years. He says when a new administration began in 2008, they told him to get rid of his beard. Khalsa says he is part of the Sikh religion, and his faith includes growing a long beard.
He says he offered to wear a medical mask to cover it up, but his troubles didn't end. Khalsa resigned from his job in December. On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the hospital.
A spokesperson for Presbyterian Hospital Systems says they attempted work with Khalsa and his attorneys on workplace issues. They also say Presbyterian employs more than 9,000 people with a diverse workface and does not discriminate.