Appeals Court Sides with Lee County Sheriff

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Jackson, Miss.

A federal appeals court has sided with a Mississippi sheriff in a lawsuit in which a former corrections officer said the department infringed on her religious beliefs by requiring she wear pants instead of a skirt.

The court record says Crystal Finnie worked for the Lee County Sheriff's Department for years and abided by the uniform policy. She became Pentecostal in 2008 and decided she could no longer wear pants.

Finnie was fired for not adhering to the policy. She sued in March 2010 on the basis of religious and gender discrimination.

U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock dismissed the lawsuit in July 2012.

Finnie appealed to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel of 5th Circuit judges upheld Aycock's decision in a ruling Thursday.