Canadian sawmill offers new jobs to Sikhs opposing hat policyApril 2nd, 2008 - 9:08 pm ICT by admin
Vancouver, April 2 (IANS) A sawmill company, against which its two Sikh employees have moved the provincial British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for its mandatory hard-hats policy at work site, has offered them alternative jobs. However, the petitioners and the Sikh leaders, who don’t want to set a bad precedent, met at a city gurudwara to carry their fight to conclusion.
International Forest Products (Interfor), which has about 650 employees, including many Sikhs, said Monday it was willing to accommodate the aggrieved employees in other positions with the same wages and work conditions.
The company has to respond to the Human Rights Tribunal notice by April 9.
Mander Singh Sohal and Kulwant Singh Sahota, who wear turbans, have approached the human rights panel against the new hard-hat policy, saying that it impinged on their religious rights granted by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
While Sohal has worked with Interfor since 1988, Sahota joined it only four years ago. The latter is on a disability leave, and has been offered a new assignment whenever he rejoins.
Ric Slaco, vice president of the company, told the media Monday that the new policy was chalked out after employees protested last November.
Thanks to it, he said, injuries at their sawmills have come down since then.
He also revealed that other Sikh employees, who wore turbans, have complied with the new policy.
They were either wearing hard-hats over turbans or had removed their turbans, he added.
Meanwhile, the two Sikh petitioners and community leaders met at the Ross Street Gurudwara here and decided to go ahead with their complaint against the company so that no bad precedent is set up for the future.
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