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Balancing creed and safety – Loomba v. Home Depot Canada

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A good example of rights and responsibilities colliding is the case of Deepinder Loomba, a Sikh man who wears a turban. In his job as a security guard, he was assigned to monitor security at a Home Depot store that was still under construction. Although there were signs stating hardhats were required on the site, Mr. Loomba did not wear one because it interfered with the turban he wore as an element of his faith.

This led to a heated dispute with the store’s assistant manager, who insisted the hardhat was a safety requirement under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Mr. Loomba was taken off the job, and faced a reduction in work hours.

In a June 2010 decision, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that Mr. Loomba had been discriminated against – he had been treated differently in a negative way because of his turban. The Tribunal also found that the store did not consistently enforce the protective safety equipment rules, and was more strict with Mr. Loomba than with other people, because of his creed.

This case was split into two parts – the next stage will involve considering the right to be free of discrimination along with the need for safety under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and determining remedies.


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