Sikh Hard Hat Accommodation

Posted by Johannes Schenk on April 23rd, 2007 — Posted in Employment Law, Human Rights Law, Labour Law

A recent arbitration award deals with the matter of hard hat accommodation in safety sensitive positions on the basis of religious belief. The case, BCMEA , Neptune Bulk Terminals Ltd and PCT v. ILWU, Local 500, deals with Sikh longshoremen. The Sikh workers refused to wear the hard hats, as required by the employers and statutory provisions, due to religious beliefs. The issue turned on whether accommodation had to occur on site at the hands of individual employers or in the Association’s dispatch hall. The Arbitrator holds that the duty to accommodate lies on the employers group and that it could be satisfied in the dispatch hall or on the work site.

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