Religious group wants change to workplace hat rule

| 3/9/2006

Truck drivers of the Sikh religion are waging another fight against workplace safety rules in Canada.

Sikhs wear turbans as part of a religious oath.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has reported that managers at the Port of Montreal have demanded that Sikh staff and other workers entering the port follow the rules requiring hardhats while on port property.

The Sikhs have refused to take off their turbans, and are reportedly gearing up for a court challenge of the port policy.

The Sikhs have won court battles in the past, most notably in the 1990s against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other employers that required certain hats on the job.

Sikhs recently fought a rule by Canadian Pacific Railway that required workers to wear hardhats at railroad yards. Canadian Pacific settled in that case and changed the rule amidst the threat of a possible Human Rights Commission challenge by the Sikhs.