A U.S. appeals court in Philadelphia says prison officials can ban employees from wearing Muslim headscarves out of safety concerns.
The judges say the case is a close call. But they say prison officials have legitimate concerns the headscarves can hide contraband or be used by an inmate to choke someone.
The 2-1 decision is a defeat for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The commission believes the three Muslim women employed at the Delaware County Prison in Thornton had to compromise their religious beliefs to keep their jobs.
Monday's ruling upholds a district judge who dismissed the EEOC lawsuit.
The suit was filed against the Geo Group, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based contractor that operated the prison.
© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.