Is this Discrimination? Help needed please!!

  1. Hello everyone,

    A friend of mine is a RN, recently hired in a nursing home in Ontario, Canada. She is a very nice lady and a great nurse. She also happens to be Muslim and wears an Abyaya (sp?, Head scarf - no viel).

    After a couple weeks at her new job, a couple patients told the manager that they do not like her wearing her Abyaya.

    The nursing manager called her into her office and told her that the Abaya is unacceptable and that she must remove it or she will be terminated. She was told not to show her face in the hospital again if she is still wearing it.

    Some may say...just stop wearing it then...however she has worn it all her adult life. It does not interfer with her work and the last time I checked this constitued discrimonation under the charter, Doesn't it?

    I need the help of some experienced nurses. What should my friend do? call ONA or a independant Lawyer? I don't think the nursing home is unionized so ONA maybe out.

    Help needed, Thank you,
  2. Visit Zhakrin profile page

    About Zhakrin

    Joined: Feb '02; Posts: 136; Likes: 1


  3. by   disher
    The situation you describe is considered discrimnation, if the nursing home has a human reource manager then your friend should advise the HR manager of the situation. An HR manager will help to settle this. If there is no HR then she could contact the human rights commission.
  4. by   Brownms46
    Dear Zhakrin,

    I'm totally shocked at this nurse being subjected to this kind of discrimination, and YES it is discrimination! First of all mulsin women wear their heads covered as part of their religious practice. I'm not aware of what your countries discrimination laws are, but here in the US...these kinds of statements made by the NM would be unacceptabe! No facility could make such requirements for employment here. I live in Seattle and see many wearing the head covering in all areas of life here.

    Second...I'm sure when the NH hired her, she was wearing the head covering. and had the opportunity to not hire her, if they didn't wish to, without giving her the reason. That was their opportunity to take any actions on their part. After hiring her...they lost the abliity to expect her to remove her head covering. I think since 9/11 there are people who had problems with seeing those with head coverings, and have made poor decisions regarding them. The idea that this NM had the nerve to address this poor soul in this manner disgusts me to no end.

    I think she should seek whatever assistance is available to her, and not let this facility get away with this action. I doubt seriously if she would still want a position there, but I wouldn't let the problem go unaddressed.

    Many muslim women wear this head covering from very young ages. I feel this NM should have advised the residents who complained that this was an expression of her religion, and d/t religious freedom..(not sure how this works in Canada), this was something beyond the facilities ablitiy to control. This was a qualified nurse, and her wearning this head covering, in no way hindered her ablity to provide them with safe, quality care.

    I may not agree with her beliefs, but I feel it is wrong to say they shouldn't be able to follow them. NO... she shouldn't remove it!
  5. by   live4today
    Zhakrin, I agree with Brownie. That nurse being told not to wear her head dress is a blatant form of discrimination!

    Are nurses allowed to wear Christian crosses at your place of employment? What about Jewish nurses who are male -- are they allowed to wear their headcaps on their Holy days when they work? Are nurses who practice paganism allowed to wear there wicca jewelry to work?

    If anyone displays on their person a form of their particular belief, and they are not told to "leave those items at home" before reporting for duty, and that nurse was the only one told not to wear her "display of personal belief" on her head, then they are facing a law suit if she decides to pursue it. Tsk, tsk on that facility for discriminating in any way shape or form, regardless of who the person is they are discriminating against, or regardless of that person's beliefs. I hope someone stands up for that nurse -- if not for her job, for those who may want to hire on there in the future.
  6. by   Zhakrin
    Thank you both I have advised her to seek the help of her Islamic association, so that they can advise of her legal rights and hopefully she will be represented.

    I am catholic by faith and I would be red faced mad as hell if someone in Canada told me not to wear a cross, I dont but that's not the point.

    I hate discrimination in all its ugly forms.

    Thanks again.