Prison officials violated workplace discrimination laws when they fired a Muslim nurse who insisted on wearing a head scarf on the job, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged Thursday.

The agency charged in a lawsuit that The Geo Group Inc., a private company that operates the Delaware County Prison in Thornton, refused to make religious accommodations for Carmen Sharpe-Allen and other female Muslim employees.

Sharpe-Allen, who had a good performance record, was fired in December 2005 after a meeting with Warden Ronald Nardolillo, the suit said.

“(The prison) has forced its Muslim female employees to compromise their religious beliefs by removing their khimars while on duty or risk termination,” according to the federal suit. The prison instituted the ban on head scarves in early 2005, the suit said.

Calls to the Florida-based Geo Group and to Nardolillo were not immediately returned Thursday.


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