SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — A Sikh-American doctor in Tennessee today filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee against Premier Medical Group and Arthur Marshall, Inc. alleging he was denied a neurology job after the employer and recruiter inquired into his religious appearance.

The Sikh Coalition filed the lawsuit on behalf of Dr. Jaswinder Pal Singh, an observant Sikh who maintains unshorn hair, including a bear, and wears a turban.

Singh is a physician licensed and board certified in the area of neurology, according to the complaint. He arrived in the U.S. in 2008 to pursue a master’s degree in health care management, and followed that up with specialized training in neurology and clinical neurophysiology. During the incidents that Singh alleged occurred in the suit, he was completing a fellowship in clinical neurology at the Loyola Medical Center, according to the complaint.

In August 2014, Singh was solicited and applied for a contracted neurologist position at the Tennessee-based Premier Medical Group via the recruiting firm, Arthur Marshal, Inc., according to the complaint. He was made aware of the neurologist position at Premier Medical through Arthur Marshall’s emails soliciting available job positions, the suit said.

During a phone conversation with one of Arthur Marshall’s recruiters, Singh was interviewed about his qualifications. During the phone call, according to the suit, the recruiter, Steve Bianco, commented about the difficulty of hiring foreign-born because of their difficulties communicating in English, but praised Singh for having no discernible “accent or slang.”

Towards the end of the conversation, according to the complaint, Bianco expressed that he was impressed with Singh’s qualifications and how he presented over the phone.

Singh applied to the position that same day, submitting his resume to Bianco, according to the suit.

However, just hours later, Singh was notified that he wouldn’t be considered for the role because Premier Medical Group could not accommodate any candidates requiring visa sponsorship.

A month later, Bianco informed Singh that Premier Medical Group had their reservations about his candidacy for the role, and wanted to see more information about his appearance, according to the suit, specifically “how you appear” and “what you look like.” Singh explained to Bianco that he was a Sikh, and provided details about his public appearance and grooming standards. He also said that he wears a turban, in accordance with his Sikh faith.

At this point, according to the suit, Bianco said he did not know what a Sikh was.

As time progressed, and Singh provided more information, including photographs he submitted of himself for Arthur Marshall to provide Premier Medical Group his likeness, he was informed in a text message that he was no longer being considered for the role.

“The client is not interested at this time. I am sorry as [I] really like you,” Bianco said in a text message to Singh, according to the suit.

Singh alleges in the lawsuit that he was discriminated against, and that he was subjected to “discriminatory adverse employment action by refusing to hire him because of his race, color, religion, and national origin after improperly requesting information about [Singh’s] appearance and receiving photographs of [Singh].”

The lawsuit has a total of three counts.

According to the Sikh Coalition, the lawsuit seeks to secure a court order requiring that both defendants implement anti-discrimination policies, practices and training to ensure that they do not discriminate against any future applicants. Singh is additionally seeking to be made whole for the unlawful employment practices by providing appropriate back pay and front pay.