Sikh security guards ousted from city jobs over beards, organization says

sikh security guards ousted from city jobs over beards, organization says
© Provided by Toronto Sun Birkawal Singh Anand says he lost his job as a security guard after he refused to shave his beard so he could wear an N-95 mask.

Over 100 Sikh security guards have lost their positions at City of Toronto sites over a rule that requires them to be clean shaven, so they can wear N95 masks, the World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) says.

WSO Legal Counsel Balpreet Singh said the private contractors that employed the guards told them that they were following city orders.

“The security companies are saying this is a City of Toronto rule,” Singh said Monday. “And some of them have been saying they’ve been penalized when inspectors have come to sites and found bearded security guards. And as a result, they essentially cracked down on all the Sikh security guards who have beards.”

While the guards were told they could ask for an exemption based on religious requirements, companies either moved them to lesser-paying positions or laid them off rather than deal with the city’s demands, he said.

Singh produced several examples of employer notices in confirmation of these actions.

Etobicoke resident Birkawal Singh Anand said he lost his security position at a city respite shelter after he was told he had to be clean shaven to wear a N95 mask — this despite offering to wear another kind of face covering and observing shelter residents and staff without masks.

It’s hard to believe a government would enforce this kind of decision in the 21st century and in Canada where human rights are protected, he said.

“I’m feeling humiliated because of the decision,” Anand added. “For me, if someone asks me to shave off my beard, it’s like someone asking… to peel off their skin.”

In a statement, the City of Toronto said that it had received a complaint from a few of its security guard contractors.

“The city is reviewing the complaint which alleges that certain contractors failed to accommodate their own employees in relation to the city’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) division’s requirement for the use of N-95 masks for all staff and contractors who may come into contact with any person who has or is suspected of having COVID-19,” the statement says. “SSHA’s policy requires that anyone who may have to use an N-95 mask must be clean shaven for fit testing.”

SSHA policy allows for accommodations and requests are assessed in accordance with the contractors’ own human right policies, the statement says.

All contractors who work with the city must make a declaration to confirm they are abiding with its Human Rights and Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy (HRAP), the statement says.

aartuso@postmedia.com

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Palay-Palay  National ParkAbout PagudpudFive Levels of Aguinid FallsIntroducing San Pascual, MasbateMount Manmanoc ItineraryAdventures in Fortune Island of Nasugbu | LakwatseroNext Level Mobile Photography with Sony Xperia XZ1 | LakwatseroScuba Diving in Siargao: Discovering the Underwater Treasures of Daku Island | LakwatseroAbout Davao CityHow to Get to AndaJanuary: Cebu & IloiloHow to Get to Mines View ParkKamay ni Hesus: Pilgrimage Site in Lucban | LakwatseroPoon Hill: Three Days of Himalayan AdventureCalvary Hill Cemetery of SagadaHow to Get to TambobongMilford SoundTen Things To Do in Sagada: Bucket List for NewbiesDahoyhoy FallsPilot for a Day: The Ultra Light Aircraft Experience | LakwatseroReal Coffee and Tea Cafe of Boracay | LakwatseroGhorepani Poon Hill TrekAbout Maniwaya IslandHow to Get to Binanga FallsPalo Alto Falls of Baras, Rizal | LakwatseroExplore Moscow: Best Things to Do in the City | LakwatseroStairway to HeavenMount Guiting-Guiting Overnight Trek Complete ItineraryCape Melville LighthouseLa Cathedral Café: Restaurant with a View in IntramurosKapurpurawan Rock Formation: White and BeautifulDay Hike ItineraryThe Sandbox at AlvieraHow to go to Mararison IslandA Weekend of Adventures in South Cebu and DumagueteCalayan Island: A Virtual Diary of Our Epic Journey | LakwatseroFaro de Isla Jintotolo (Jintotolo Island Lighthouse)Low’s PeakAbout Taal VolcanoHow to Get to Mag-aso Falls of BoholSamar: Biri Rock Formations Up Close | LakwatseroBonbon BeachIntroducing Jomalig IslandAbout Cotabato CityAbout TabukLeyte Landing Memorial: A Memorial for a Fulfilled Promise | LakwatseroSilyang Bato, Mount MaramiPanimahawa Ridge and Cedar Falls Day Hike ItineraryFun in the World’s Best IslandSample Albay ItinerariesMagpupungko Beach and Tidal Pools6 Tips for Living in the Philippines | LakwatseroDaraga Church: The Nuestra Señora dela Porteria ChurchTulgao Rice TerracesCape Melville Lighthouse (Faro del Cabo Melville)Canyoneering to Kawasan FallsLake FewaLong Weekend: Five-Day Suggested Itineraries in Luzon | LakwatseroAbout CaponesThe Wichcraft Café of Zamboanga City | LakwatseroHow to Get to GuiuanAll-Female FloorHow to Get to Neri’s VilleDiotay’s EateryShort but Sweet Melaka Getaway | LakwatseroHow to Get to Tinuy-An FallsOslob: The Lost Grandeur of Tumalog Falls | LakwatseroIlocos ItineraryDitumabo Falls: The Mother Falls of San Luis, Aurora!Biking in Kalinga: Trek and Bike to TabukParadise Garden: A Haven for Sea TurtlesSiargao: Magpupungko Beach and Tidal Pools | LakwatseroAbout Bucas GrandeCoral GardenSagadaA Walk in Sangay Siapo Island Before it is Gone? | LakwatseroAmbaguio-Akiki ItineraryCorregidor Island Lighthouse (Faro dela Isla de Corregidor)Faro de Punta de Malabrigo (Malabrigo Point Lighthouse)About CulionNaidi Hill LighthouseBoquete IslandHow to Commute to Temple of LeahCatanduanes: The Heritage Church of Bato | Lakwatsero1. White Water Rafting or KayakingMount Fuji Overnight Climb ItinerarySip & Gogh Paint Studio: Unleash Your Inner Van Gogh | LakwatseroBatanes ItineraryHow to Get to Quitinday HillsAbout Callao CaveDiscover LakawonBiking to Taal: A Fun Ride to Batangas’ Heritage TownAntique Blooming: The Rafflesia of San RemigioMalasimbo Lights and Dance FestivalBacolod ItineraryPoon HillAttractions in Mirador Heritage and Eco ParkHulhumale Public BeachRomblon Island: Bonbon Beach, Tiamban Beach & MoreAdventure in Sabah: White Water Rafting in Padas River | LakwatseroHow to Get to Hinakpan Mystical HillsWelcome to Lake SebuAbout CasiguranAbout BuscalanHow to Go to Kalanggaman IslandFaro de Cabo Bojeador (Cape Bojeador Lighthouse)Backpacking Maldives: Budget Itinerary, Expenses & TipsHow to Get ThereOffbeat Bohol Itinerary: 3D/2N of AdventuresHow to Get to Tawi-TawiAlona BeachPangilatan Falls: The Forgotten Gem of Tapaz, CapizWorld War I: SMS Cormoran II3D/2N Taiwan Itinerary: Taipei – Yehliu – ShiffenLaos for Backpackers: Getting There on a BudgetBasic RequirementsHow to Get to Antong FallsCathedral CaveHow to Go to Gubat, SorsogonAbout SadangaHow to Get to Bugui Point LighthouseHow to Get to Cabra Island LighthouseCebu Itinerary: Three-Day Adventures in the SouthAbout AndaLuna: A Day in the Show Window of Apayao | LakwatseroMargues Blue LagoonFinding Palaui’s Cape Engaño Lighthouse | LakwatseroHow to Get to Mantayupan Falls of Barili, CebuHow to Get to MaligcongLinapacan Islands: Between Paradise | LakwatseroKLIA to KLCCHow to Get to JomaligBanaug ShoalEspadang Bato – Payaran Falls Day Hike Itinerary10 Remarkable Philippine Destinations for Solo TravelMiagao Church: A UNESCO World Heritage Site in IloiloAbout Carbin ReefAbout Parola IslandCabra WreckageCobra Falls: Ozamiz City’s Best Kept SecretBasco: The Chapel on the Hill of Tukon | LakwatseroBack in Kathmandu’s Lovely Mess | LakwatseroHimalayan Adventure: Kathmandu to Pokhara Overland | LakwatseroItineraryChinatown Vancouver (Stop #23)Situbo Falls: Tampilisan's Awesome SurpriseHow to Get to Inambakan FallsTuasan Falls: Another Camiguin’s Charmer | LakwatseroHow to Get to Lake SebuMarinduque Loop: Biking in the Heart of the Philippines1. 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Cruz Grande IslandBasilica de San Martin de ToursBaguio Budget Stay: Upstairs Bed & Bath | LakwatseroBiking in Batanes: Batan Island Loop | LakwatseroCandaba Bird SanctuaryCape EngañoAbout HungduanIligan Tourism Triangle: Mimbalut, Tinago & Maria CristinaAbout Jose PanganibanCadapdapan Rice TerracesHow to Get to Casaroro FallsKiltepan: Sagada’s Best Sunrise | LakwatseroBeguet: Colorado Falls of Tuba | LakwatseroFollow the Call of the Great Outdoors: Go Out & Get More | LakwatseroSanga-Sanga ReefMasbate City: Where to Eat in the City | LakwatseroAbout Carabao IslandRain Vortex at the Jewel of ChangiPacsafe Venturesafe 65L GII Travel PackIrakoWhere to Stay in CarmenHow to Get to Tangadan FallsHow to Get to Samal Island