Even after they brought a “note” from the local Imam insisting they must wear ankle-length gowns,” UPS would not budge, citing hazard concerns; and now the latter have “paid” (jizya?) — though no one seems to know how much.
“8 Muslims settle skirt dispute with UPS,” by Paola Loriggio for The Star, November 18:
Eight Muslim women who filed a human rights complaint against the United Parcel Service (UPS) over a dress code dispute, settled with the company yesterday.
But it is unclear whether the company will change its policy, since neither party would discuss the terms of the agreement.
“Everyone is very happy,” said Jacquie Chic, lawyer for the complainants, after announcing the agreement at a Canadian Human Rights tribunal yesterday morning.[…]
She added “The women are very happy with the settlement. … Today was a big day for everybody.”
The women, all devout Muslims, lost their jobs in 2005 because they refused to hike their skirts above the knee over their long pants.
They argued that Islam requires them to be fully covered for modesty and alleged discrimination on the basis of religion and gender.
UPS said the ankle-length skirts were a safety hazard as workers climb ladders up to six metres high. Only “a gap in the process” allowed the women to work at UPS for up to two years without being told their clothing posed a risk, a UPS manager previously told the tribunal.
In the end, yesterday’s settlement means the tribunal did not answer the key question: Was it discrimination, or a legitimate safety concern?
The women’s jobs required them to navigate open metal staircases and tall ladders to flip boxes on a conveyor-belt system at a Toronto UPS plant. The company eventually ordered a risk hazard analysis that determined the women’s traditional garb — long skirts, hijabs and neck scarves — was unsafe.
Six of the women had brought the company a letter from their mosque confirming their religion insists they wear full-length skirts.