September 23, 2016 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Quebec: As per media reports a Quebec judge has ruled Dastar (turban)-wearing Sikh truck drivers must wear hard hats (helmets) in the workplace, disallowing any exception in safety standards.
“Three Sikh men who drove container trucks at the Port of Montreal had argued they had a right to wear a turban instead of a helmet based on Quebec and Canadian charter rights protecting freedom of religion”, a news in Coast Reporter notes.
In a ruling released Wednesday, Quebec Superior Court Justice André Prévost recognised that the requirement to wear helmets violated the mens’ charter rights, but refused to allow exception citing safety reasons in this case.
In a case dating back to 2006, the men had argued they were victims of religious discrimination after they were no longer allowed to enter the port’s terminals without protective headgear.
The safety measures were put in place in 2005.
Originally an accommodation was put in place allowing the drivers to stay in their trucks while containers were loaded, but that was eventually deemed not commercially viable because it increased the loading time.
A lawyer representing the three men said he was disappointed by the decision but was encouraged that the judge recognized his client’s charter rights had been violated.
Julius Grey said he would meet with his clients next week to decide whether to appeal the decision.
“I personally believe it’s a case that can be very easily and effectively appealed, so I hope that’s what they’ll do,” he said.