The City of Toronto is pleading with its contractors to reinstate security guards who lost their jobs as a result of new regulations requiring them to be clean-shaven in order to adhere to a masking requirement. The city should go further and compensate the security officers for the hours they lost, according to a Sikh organization that is campaigning for the workers who quit their positions as a result of the new laws.
To allow for the deployment of an N-95 mask, all security officers assigned to homeless shelters were initially required to have clean-shaven faces on March 22.
The companies that hire security personnel to staff City of Toronto events were then in charge of enforcing such rules.
Body hair maintenance is a common practice to show one’s dedication to the Sikh religion.
The World Sikh Organization’s legal counsel and spokeswoman, Balpreet Singh, claims that contractors have been receiving fines from city inspectors who have visited their sites because they had security guards with beards.
He asserts that a security consultant forwarded an email to him that was intended for the company security officer. He told them that having bearded security guards on-site had cost them 190 billable hours in a single day. The security guards were subsequently informed that they would be sent home if they didn’t have freshly shaven faces.
Most of the security personnel affected by the law are employed through contracts between the city and outside companies. The World Sikh Organization (WSO), which points out that the majority of the city’s rules have been removed, calls the current policy “completely irrational” and has urged officials to change it right away.