Sikh guards fired for facial hair in Toronto

The City of Toronto is pleading with its contractors to hire back security guards who were fired because of new rules requiring them to be clean-shaven in order to comply with a masking requirement. However, a Sikh organization that is fighting for the security guards who quit their jobs due to the new regulations wants the city to take it a step further and pay them for whatever hours they missed. 

All security personnel assigned to homeless shelters were initially required to be clean-shaven on March 22 in order to allow the use of an N-95 mask. 

The enforcement of those regulations was then the responsibility of the contractors who provide security guards to City of Toronto venues. 

Maintaining body hair is a prevalent habit in order to demonstrate one’s commitment to the Sikh religion. 

According to Balpreet Singh, the World Sikh Organization’s legal advisor and spokeswoman, contractors were reporting that city inspectors were visiting their sites and fining them for having security personnel with beards. 

He claims that a security contractor forwarded an email to him that was meant for the security officer at the business. He informed them that the presence of bearded security personnel at the location had cost them 190 billable hours in one day. The security officers were then warned that if they didn’t have clean-shaven faces, they would be sent home. 

The majority of the security staff impacted by the legislation are hired through agreements between the city and outside businesses. The World Sikh Organization (WSO), which notes that the majority of the city’s regulations have been deleted, finds the existing policy “totally illogical” and has urged officials to take immediate action to correct it. 

Image courtesy of thesatimes

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