Sikh Argues Against Hard Hat

January 27, 2009

Author: Amy Chung

Source: The Toronto Sun

A Sikh security guard who was asked to trade in his turban for a hard hat by a Home Depot manager presented his case of alleged discrimination before a human rights tribunal yesterday.

Deepinder Loomba, 50, testified he was commissioned to patrol a Home Depot site under construction in Milton and on Dec. 6, 2005, the assistant manager supervising the site asked him to replace his turban with a hard hat.

When he refused, Loomba said the manager and other workers ridiculed and humiliated him. After two hours, Loomba said he could not handle the humiliation and left the site. He subsequently filed a complaint with Home Depot and the Ontario Human Rights Commmission. He's seeking $40,000 in damages.


At one point, Loomba alleged the manager threatened his employment if he didn't put on a hard hat.

Loomba said the company was investigating the matter but he did not hear of the outcome.

Home Depot acknowledged the Sun's request for comments, but did not provide one before press time.

In his testimony, Loomba explained how Sikhs who adopt the turban are not supposed to cut or expose their hair in public. In their holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, a Sikh's hair is to be treated as a gift from God and acceptance of the faith.

"My hair has been unshorn since birth," Loomba told the tribunal, adding the only time he removes the turban is when he sleeps and bathes.

"It's a part of you. It's part of your identity," said his son, Roopjyot Loomba, 20, who is waiting for his grandfather to come to Toronto for his turban ceremony.