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GMPs Religious Head Scarves

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 06:57 PM

I am looking for some information on how other companies have addressed the wearing of religious scarves in a food manufactuering facility?  We have reached out to our HR team for guideance, but they have asked for feedback on an industry standard.  We work with open food and packaging and out current GMP policy states that all must wear hairnets.  It also states that the wearing of scarves and hoods (hooded sweatshirts) must be tucked under the labcoat or coverall.  This is a safety precaution as well as a food safety precation (do not want it to get caught on equipment nor do we want it to be a harborage for hair or debris for example that exposes the product).  Does anyone have any recommendations on potential accomodations we could make to an individual that must wear a head scarf for religious purposes, but still would liek to work in the food manufacturing area?


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Posted 06 August 2014 - 07:13 PM

Hello, Jalvarado and welcome to the forums!

Do your employees wear jackets or smocks of any kind?

Here where I work, scarves need to be covered, just like hair. People here wear stocking caps since we have coolers and freezers, and still hairnets must be worn. This site has a search function and you will find A LOT of information about hairnets, but here is a link to our most recent discussion.


Edited by Setanta, 06 August 2014 - 07:14 PM.






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Posted 07 August 2014 - 08:21 AM

Hi Jalvarado, 


Many people are lodging applications to the European Court of Human Rights regarding the discrimination of their freedom of religion. In this particular case - if the company prohibits wearing of religion symbols, such as scarves, without the reasonable ground, the company discriminates their rights. I read a lot of cases and the main thing is that all countries has a wide margin of appreciation in this area, it means that the state can make their own rules on when and were the religion symbols can be worn. For example - just recent case in France - nobody allowed to wear scarves in public... 

I read a lot of cases where the employees were not allowed to were scarves for the Health and Safety purpose and they were right! There are similar cases regarding crucifix as well. The most important thing - if you prohibit wearing the scarves- you must prove that it was for the Health and Safety purpose and then you are right. Also - have in mind the other people and their religion symbols - for ex.if you prohibit scarves for the Health and Safety purpose but someone is wearing  in the same area - crucifix necklace - this may be an issue as you have to treat all the employees in the same way - do not discriminate. 


Please see this case versus UK where the prohibition to wear a cross in the hospital was justified for the Health and Safety purpose- 

Eweida and Others v. the United Kingdom, no. 48420/10, ECHR 2013 




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