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Risk of wearing religious clothing - long skirts?


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#1 dshapos

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 12:59 AM

We have an employee who is converting to a religion where specific clothing is mandated.  We have accommodated multiple religious requirements depending on employee needs, but we are now faced with something new.  This is a female employee who stated that she will be required to wear long skirts.  We are an industrial food manufacturing facility and my concerns are for her safety while on the plant floor, but I do not want to interfere with her dress requirements as part of her religious beliefs.  We have ordered different hair nets to work with her head coverings and she already wears a below the waist work coat.  Are there any regulations that would prohibit loose fitting long skirts?



#2 Simon

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 06:14 AM

Every decision should be based on risk assessment (where not prescribed by standards or regulations).  You do not say which standard (if any) you are working to so we cannot check if anything is mandated.  I doubt it will be somehow.  If you are talking about the persons safety then you will have to decide based on the activities they carry out whether there are any hazards introduced by wearing the skirt that could cause tripping or her to become caught in machinery or equipment etc.  If there are risks then you may be able to change the design of the skirt (less loose) etc. to remove or reduce the risk.  If you conduct the risk assessment carefully and without bias then whatever decision you make you will be able to stand behind and importantly keep the employee safe.

 

Are you also concerned with food safety hazards?  If so then the same applies we would need to check what is mandated and whether you have the freedom to conduct a risk assessment.  If so I would consider the design and condition of the skirt (no pockets/no jewels etc.) and laundering of it to minimise risk.  As you say a long (laundered?) coat is worn anyhow.

 

Just a few thoughts.

 

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Simon


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#3 Plastic Ducky

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 02:00 PM

First, I want to congratulate you for honoring everyone's religious freedom. I have suffered discrimination all to often in the workplace environment due to my own religious beliefs :-(  .   I am a member of the church of FSM (Flying Spaghetti Monsterism). We are not as mainstream as some of the other organized religions you have heard of like say Mormons, or The Church of Euthanasia, but we are one of the fastest growing religions in present times. Just like many other religions, as a Pastafarian I am obligated to adorn my body with specific garments and do-dads that please our god (the Invisible Flying Spaghetti Monster) who is constantly watching us to make sure we are following our age old traditions that have been passed down for well over a few years now. As a dedicated Pastafarian it is paramount to follow these traditions so as not to piss off our god the FSM. Even though he created the entire universe, is all knowing and all encompassing, he is prone to fits of jealously from time to time and riddled with insecurities. That is why to make sure he knows that I am truly enthralled by his unending manipulation of all realms including the space-time continuum, I must regularly adorn my body in full pirate regalia. Head to toe, from my swashbuckling boots, to my eye patch and the Macaw Parrot on my shoulder. In the past, employers have been less than receptive to my religion :-( . In this day and age you would think that people would be more tolerant of religious freedoms. Having been touched by FSM's noodley appendage it is my responsibility to wear full pirate regalia to do my part in combating global warming. It is a sacrifice no doubt, but us chosen few are more than ready to make this sacrifice for the good of the world, Everybody already knows that there is an undeniable correlation between the decline in the number of pirates world wide and the rise in global temperatures. This is an indisputable fact. Having been enlightened by the FSM with this knowledge I must go forth and swashbuckler  AHOY! Yaaaaaaar matey, best baton down the hatches when religious discrimination is afoot!

 

But I digress..... You know at one time I was a professional digresser. But before I speak on the time period in which I was a professional digresser, I would like to tell you about the time when I was a professional digresser. It was the summer of 1995 and I had just purchased a Volkswagen "Thing". It was as red as marinara with black stripes and....oh wait, lets get back to your lady with the dress thing.

 

In my professional opinion, she should be allowed to wear whatever religious garments or do-dads she wishes. If the invisible Flying Spaghetti Monster wills it, then so shall it be. If the FSM wishes her to be sucked into an enormous machine and mangled then who can stand in his way?  

 

I would like to end my contribution to this topic with a prayer;

 

Our Pasta, who “Arghh” in heaven, Swallowed be thy shame. Thy Midgit come. Thy Sauce be yum, On top some grated Parmesan. Give us this day our garlic bread. And give us our cutlasses, As we swashbuckle, splice the main-brace and cuss. And lead us into temptation, But deliver us some Pizza. For thine are Meatballs, and the beer, and the strippers, for ever and ever. RAmen.


Edited by Charles.C, 18 September 2015 - 02:31 PM.
font adjusted slightly, hope OK


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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 02:44 PM

Hi Plastic Ducky,

 

Just for "context"

 

https://en.wikipedia...aghetti_Monster

http://www.urbandict...aghetti Monster

 

 

Regulatory aspects, if any, will presumably prioritize from a (purely) FS POV.

And possibly "Work Insurance" aspects ?

The FS Standard may be relevant as Simon noted. I seem to recall BRC had discussions over such issues in the past.

There are several previous forum threads on related topics.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#5 Simon

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 03:25 PM

I deleted the double post, I didn't need to be so big I'm joining anyway. :smile:


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#6 ladytygrr

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 03:31 PM

Hi dshapos,

 

As Simon pointed out, from a FS perspective, risk analyses are the way to go for something like this.

From an employee safety perspective, you'll definitely need to do a similar risk analysis. Is she running a machine? Does it have conveyor-type systems her dress can get caught in?

 

Good luck!

 

~Emily~


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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 11:54 PM

Out of Curiosity,

 

Does OSHA have a viewpoint on this ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#8 Charles.C

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 02:13 AM

Hi dshapos,

 

In addition to previous posts and JFI only, here is one publication of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -

 

http://www.eeoc.gov/...rb_grooming.cfm

 

I noticed 2 related but rather different situations in Sections 11, Ex.13 and 12, Ex.17. There may be others.

 

The only OSHA “Standard Interpretation”  related to “skirts” I could find is here –

 

https://www.osha.gov...IONS&p_id=27644

 

As a contrast, can compare to this one –

 

https://www.osha.gov...TIVES&p_id=1789

 

I’m not in USA and I’m well aware that Federal/Local Regulations are not always matched so not possible to be definitive however it appears that, as per other posts in this thread,  the Safety aspect will likely be critical with respect to yr/yr employee’s options from a Regulatory POV.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#9 dshapos

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 04:50 PM

We are following the BRC Standard.  I didn't see anything relating specifically to this, so I was looking to see if anyone else had faced this issue.  OSHA requirements are that the clothing be safe.  She is working on a production line, so above the waist, we have coats, gloves and hairnets, so no issue there.  I do not see a food safety issue, but wanted to double check.



#10 Simon

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 05:35 PM

Glad we could be your sounding board.

 

One point, it maybe worthwhile documenting your risk assessment on a simple form.  Or if you have some sort of 'exceptions log' where you detail when you have given special dispensation to employees for things like clothing, medical jewellery, carrying medicines etc.

 

Regards,

Simon


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#11 Charles.C

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 06:36 AM

We are following the BRC Standard.  I didn't see anything relating specifically to this, so I was looking to see if anyone else had faced this issue.  OSHA requirements are that the clothing be safe.  She is working on a production line, so above the waist, we have coats, gloves and hairnets, so no issue there.  I do not see a food safety issue, but wanted to double check.

 

Hi dshapos,

 

afaik, food manufacturing facilities are usually required to comply with all appropriate local legislatory requirements.  BY LAW.

 

BRC Standard was presumably initially oriented towards UK scenario. Not sure as to any textual operational differences in US version, maybe none.

 

Company "Responsibilities" related to "legality"  are noted in  UK/BRC7 clause 1.2.1. Scope is perhaps a question of interpretation.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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