Turbans and The Home Depot

A Sikh gentleman has been involved in a Ontario Human Rights Tribunal matter relating to alleged discrimination against him for wearing a turban at work.

The case centers around treatment that this gentleman received at the hands of a Home Depot employee while posted by a third party security company to provide security detail for a Home Depot construction site. What is particularly disturbing about the allegations are the allegations of racial bias as the employee is alleged to have refused entry to Mr. Deepinder Singh Loomba but also to have stated that he had been successful in the past in not allowing any turbaned persons to work at his site.

Mr. Loomba is a well educated professional who has worked with international companies in other countries and had recently immigrated to Canada, working in security while he was getting settled here. He has decided to take up this case on account of what he saw as a racial bias and a refusal by a large retailer like Home Depot to recognize and deal with the bias. Mr. Loomba has been supported by the Ontario Gurudwara Committee and now needs your moral support.

After over a year of legal haggling he has his day in court and will be in hearings today and tomorrow at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (located at 655 Bay St., 14th Floor, Toronto). The hearings started on Monday and will continue until Wednesday (three days) from 9.30 to 4:30 each day and are open to the public. Moral support and awareness would be appreciated – all the press we can get would also help to put some pressure on Home Depot to do the right thing.

All along Mr. Loomba has insisted that this outcome include an apology to the community and an acknowledgment by Home Depot that they need to implement more racial awareness and sensitivity training in the company. He has stuck this out for the good of the community and it would be great if people could show support and help him out at this crucial time in his case”

Here’s an article on the issue from yesterday’s Toronto Sun:

Hard hat vs turban battle goes to hearing
By AMY CHUNG, SUN MEDIA
Last Updated: 26th January 2009, 2:56pm

A Sikh security guard who was asked to trade in his turban for a hard hat at a Milton Home Depot will have his case heard before the Human Rights tribunal today.

Deepinder Loomba has been fighting the hardware franchise for almost four years after a supervisor at a Home Depot construction site asked Loomba to wear a hard hat.

Loomba, who immigrated to Cananda in 2002 from Uganda, said the turban is part of the Sikh religion and his hair cannot be exposed in public. The incident occured in December 2005.

The Brampton resident said the external patrol he was conducting was not inside where construction was taking place but the company is arguing the whole perimeter including the entrance-way and desk where Loomba sat required a hard hat be worn.

After two failed mediations, the case is finally being heard today through Wednesday.


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78 Responses to “Turbans and The Home Depot”

  1. Sizzle is right about ignoring Wudjab.

    He has succeeded in hijacking the whole discussion and converting it to trash talk.

    I think there are more meaningful alternatives which we should try.

    1. Is it true that we have come here by our own choices and no one invited and if don't like the rules, we should go somewhere else?

    There is a certain ignorance and cruelty involved in this question. Before we came here, westerners visited us as colonialists and robbed us of every thing which was valuable to us. They divested us of our very life styles, our values and our culture. When they visited our land, they snatched it away from us through might and deceit and ravished it to their satisfaction. Then they voluntarily left it, because there was nothing more there to rob and steal.

    The story of our coming here started with colonial violence. Even today, this violence is continuing, although it has changed its face. It has become more subtle. Now it operates on psychological and cultural level rather than through direct physical violence.

    2. Modern western states are founded on the ideals of Enlightenment. In short these ideals are Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Cases like turban controversy are actually tests of western world's claim of espousing universal values of liberty, equality and fraternity. Modern Secular discourse has established itself on the basis of its unbiased nature and its universal applicability. If it cannot do justice to everyone then what right it has to boast of being the near perfect political system on earth.

    3. Official policy of Canada is that of Multiculturalism. What does multiculturalism means? It is the co-habitation of different life-styles. Can we imagine multiculturalism without cultural diversity? It would be a joke to do so. When any Sikh asserts his right to wear turban or Kirpan, he is actually enriching the culture of Canada and making its multiculturalism more secure. Without such resistance, we will definitely end up in becoming a fascist society.

    4. Taking a more general stance: If we ask, what is the highest value of life which makes it livable?

    Its freedom, without doubt.

    Any civilized society is supposed to protect its members' freedom before anything else.

    This turban case is a test for Canada's commitment to individual freedom.

    5. For us, Sikhs, such cases provide a much needed opportunity to awaken and be organized to protect our distinctive life-style. Our fight for freedom is not only fight for our freedom, it is the fight for everyone's freedom. Modern State, through its technologies of the self, bio-politics and governmentality, has tried its best to rob human beings of every vestige of freedom left in them. Capitalism is acting today as that great machine of creating self-delusion in people minds which seduces them into prison-houses of their own habits. Guru Sahib has ordered every Sikh to live freely. If man is created in the image of Akal Purakh, then must not fell under the yoke of any worldly authority.

    We must decide our own destiny. It either lies in becoming automatons to run the capitalist machine or to adopt resistance and live freely under the Hukam of Akal Purakh.

    Decision is ours and what is at stake is nothing else than Life itself.

    Everything which does not kill me, makes me stronger.

    -Nietzsche

  2. Sizzle is right about ignoring Wudjab.

    He has succeeded in hijacking the whole discussion and converting it to trash talk.
    I think there are more meaningful alternatives which we should try.
    1. Is it true that we have come here by our own choices and no one invited and if don’t like the rules, we should go somewhere else?
    There is a certain ignorance and cruelty involved in this question. Before we came here, westerners visited us as colonialists and robbed us of every thing which was valuable to us. They divested us of our very life styles, our values and our culture. When they visited our land, they snatched it away from us through might and deceit and ravished it to their satisfaction. Then they voluntarily left it, because there was nothing more there to rob and steal.
    The story of our coming here started with colonial violence. Even today, this violence is continuing, although it has changed its face. It has become more subtle. Now it operates on psychological and cultural level rather than through direct physical violence.

    2. Modern western states are founded on the ideals of Enlightenment. In short these ideals are Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Cases like turban controversy are actually tests of western world’s claim of espousing universal values of liberty, equality and fraternity. Modern Secular discourse has established itself on the basis of its unbiased nature and its universal applicability. If it cannot do justice to everyone then what right it has to boast of being the near perfect political system on earth.

    3. Official policy of Canada is that of Multiculturalism. What does multiculturalism means? It is the co-habitation of different life-styles. Can we imagine multiculturalism without cultural diversity? It would be a joke to do so. When any Sikh asserts his right to wear turban or Kirpan, he is actually enriching the culture of Canada and making its multiculturalism more secure. Without such resistance, we will definitely end up in becoming a fascist society.

    4. Taking a more general stance: If we ask, what is the highest value of life which makes it livable?
    Its freedom, without doubt.
    Any civilized society is supposed to protect its members’ freedom before anything else.
    This turban case is a test for Canada’s commitment to individual freedom.

    5. For us, Sikhs, such cases provide a much needed opportunity to awaken and be organized to protect our distinctive life-style. Our fight for freedom is not only fight for our freedom, it is the fight for everyone’s freedom. Modern State, through its technologies of the self, bio-politics and governmentality, has tried its best to rob human beings of every vestige of freedom left in them. Capitalism is acting today as that great machine of creating self-delusion in people minds which seduces them into prison-houses of their own habits. Guru Sahib has ordered every Sikh to live freely. If man is created in the image of Akal Purakh, then must not fell under the yoke of any worldly authority.
    We must decide our own destiny. It either lies in becoming automatons to run the capitalist machine or to adopt resistance and live freely under the Hukam of Akal Purakh.
    Decision is ours and what is at stake is nothing else than Life itself.

    Everything which does not kill me, makes me stronger.

    -Nietzsche

  3. wudjab says:

    I noticed some posts were directed towards me.

    When you join a company you are obliged to follow the rules in place.

    If you're a security guard on a work site – who may be called to any part of the site – and rules require you wear a hard hat, then you wear a hard hat.

    It's as simple as that.

    Who pays if Mr. Loomba has a heavy object drop on his head – you and I through our tax payer funded health care system.

    Much like that other fool who filed an HRC complaint because he didn't want to wear helmet while riding his motorbike. Thankfully the tribunal told him he either wore a helmet or he didn't ride a bike.

    Just yesterday a muslim woman was told to remove here face covering when testifying in court.

    Like a said, between the Sikhs and Muslims, you give all immigrants a bad name.

  4. wudjab says:

    I noticed some posts were directed towards me.

    When you join a company you are obliged to follow the rules in place.

    If you’re a security guard on a work site – who may be called to any part of the site – and rules require you wear a hard hat, then you wear a hard hat.

    It’s as simple as that.

    Who pays if Mr. Loomba has a heavy object drop on his head – you and I through our tax payer funded health care system.

    Much like that other fool who filed an HRC complaint because he didn’t want to wear helmet while riding his motorbike. Thankfully the tribunal told him he either wore a helmet or he didn’t ride a bike.

    Just yesterday a muslim woman was told to remove here face covering when testifying in court.

    Like a said, between the Sikhs and Muslims, you give all immigrants a bad name.

  5. Jeev says:

    To Wudjab a person's faith should never be compromised and secondly god knows what faith you belong to. The Sikhs have contributed more to the growth of Canada than the Muslims have, so it is only fair that the Canadian government pay its debt to the Sikhs by allowing them to practice their faith freely anywhere in Canada. Here is an interesting fact for you Sikhs fought alongside Canada in both World War I and World War II not the Muslims. Sikhs have already won the right to wear their turbans in anywhere in the world especially in Canada and there are many Sikhs who are currently in Canada's armed forces and police service with their turbans as well as their are Sikhs as members of Parliament with turbans. To wudjab before you make another comment or compare Sikhs with Muslims remember this that during World Wars 1 &2 Sikhs person wearing turbans died fighting for Canada not Muslims.

  6. Jeev says:

    To Wudjab a person’s faith should never be compromised and secondly god knows what faith you belong to. The Sikhs have contributed more to the growth of Canada than the Muslims have, so it is only fair that the Canadian government pay its debt to the Sikhs by allowing them to practice their faith freely anywhere in Canada. Here is an interesting fact for you Sikhs fought alongside Canada in both World War I and World War II not the Muslims. Sikhs have already won the right to wear their turbans in anywhere in the world especially in Canada and there are many Sikhs who are currently in Canada’s armed forces and police service with their turbans as well as their are Sikhs as members of Parliament with turbans. To wudjab before you make another comment or compare Sikhs with Muslims remember this that during World Wars 1 &2 Sikhs person wearing turbans died fighting for Canada not Muslims.

  7. Trident says:

    "When you join a company you are obliged to follow the rules in place."

    …he wasn't hired by Home Depot genius. It was a third party security company that Home Depot contracted the job to. That little tidbit of information can be found in (LITERALLY) the second sentence of the original post. It's hard to read up on the facts when your head's up your *** isn't it?

  8. Trident says:

    “When you join a company you are obliged to follow the rules in place.”

    …he wasn’t hired by Home Depot genius. It was a third party security company that Home Depot contracted the job to. That little tidbit of information can be found in (LITERALLY) the second sentence of the original post. It’s hard to read up on the facts when your head’s up your *** isn’t it?

  9. well Trident has hit into the face with the above reply..

  10. well Trident has hit into the face with the above reply..

  11. Wudjab says:

    To both you genius's above.

    It doesn't matter if Mr. Loomba was subcontracted to Home Depot or was working directly for Home Depot.

    The very fact that he was on a Home Depot work site, means he is OBLIGED to follow the rules and regulations that apply on the site.

  12. Wudjab says:

    To both you genius’s above.

    It doesn’t matter if Mr. Loomba was subcontracted to Home Depot or was working directly for Home Depot.

    The very fact that he was on a Home Depot work site, means he is OBLIGED to follow the rules and regulations that apply on the site.

  13. justasikh says:

    Wudjab,

    Sikhs fought in both world wars without helmets. Their safety wasn't addressed then, if read a bit they have a disproportionately high ratio of battle valors and medals, like the Victorian Cross.

    All in the service of humanity and not one group.

    I'll share one passage with you..

    When the question of Sikhs wearing turbans and refusing to wear steel helmets came in front of the British parliament, Sir Winston Churchill said it was “a matter of deep regret that consequent to contemporary cynicism, people had been toying with many precious social and religious values, but those who want to retain and maintain them with due respect should receive our appreciation as well as help. The Sikhs need our help for such a cause. We should help them willingly. He who is familiar with Sikh history knows the Sikhs’ relationship with England, the high degree of their achievements, and must help them with full strength. The Sikhs should be exempted from wearing steel helmets because it hurts their religious feelings”.

    A Sikh's turban is his god given helmet. Winston Churchill got it.

    Sadly, most people do not get informed or educated before forming opinions by reading history.

    Canada also has laws and freedoms that are expected to be respected for everyone. Sikhs are stakeholders in Canada because they fought for it's freedom and are nation builders just like anyone.

  14. justasikh says:

    Wudjab,

    Sikhs fought in both world wars without helmets. Their safety wasn’t addressed then, if read a bit they have a disproportionately high ratio of battle valors and medals, like the Victorian Cross.

    All in the service of humanity and not one group.

    I’ll share one passage with you..

    When the question of Sikhs wearing turbans and refusing to wear steel helmets came in front of the British parliament, Sir Winston Churchill said it was a matter of deep regret that consequent to contemporary cynicism, people had been toying with many precious social and religious values, but those who want to retain and maintain them with due respect should receive our appreciation as well as help. The Sikhs need our help for such a cause. We should help them willingly. He who is familiar with Sikh history knows the Sikhs relationship with England, the high degree of their achievements, and must help them with full strength. The Sikhs should be exempted from wearing steel helmets because it hurts their religious feelings.

    A Sikh’s turban is his god given helmet. Winston Churchill got it.

    Sadly, most people do not get informed or educated before forming opinions by reading history.

    Canada also has laws and freedoms that are expected to be respected for everyone. Sikhs are stakeholders in Canada because they fought for it’s freedom and are nation builders just like anyone.

  15. Quebec Hardwood says:

    Regarding the clever cartoon with the native looking at the white guy. There is some evidence coming out that Europeans(whiteys) may actually be natives here in North America.

  16. Quebec Hardwood says:

    Regarding the clever cartoon with the native looking at the white guy. There is some evidence coming out that Europeans(whiteys) may actually be natives here in North America.

  17. Sikh says:

    Wow wudjab i'm sorry to also break it to you buddy, but you seem much like an ignorant individual, whom seems to be very uneducated in the sector of embracing other religions? I see you have a lot of hate, but I suggest you be more of an open-minded individual. p.s if you are unable to comphrend these words and would like me speak in a manner in which is best suitable for you, than i repeat .. grow up u little brat what are you 5, you're making a mockery out of such a situation, and its not referred to as "religious crap" you moron get yourself checked.

  18. Sikh says:

    Wow wudjab i'm sorry to also break it to you buddy, but you seem much like an ignorant individual, whom seems to be very uneducated in the sector of embracing other religions? I see you have a lot of hate, but I suggest you be more of an open-minded individual. p.s if you are unable to comphrend these words and would like me speak in a manner in which is best suitable for you, than i repeat .. grow up u little brat what are you 5, you're making a mockery out of such a situation, and its not referred to as "religious crap" you moron get yourself checked.

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