Sikh wins case against world’s top home goods retailer

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS
Thursday, July 1, 2010

TORONTO - A Sikh security guard here, who moved the Ontario provincial human rights commission for being forced to wear a hard helmet by Home Depot, has won his case against the world’s largest home-improvement retailer but his plea for compensation has yet to be decided.

In its ruling, Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal said Home Depot (Canada) discriminated against Deepinder Loomba by “enforcing” a hard hat on him and threatening him with dismissal if he didn’t comply.

Loomba moved the human rights panel seeking $25,000 in damages and a change in Home Depot’s policies.

The tribunal has yet to decide the compensation part as there is the Occupational Safety Act which makes wearing of hard hats mandatory at construction sites.

Headquartered near Atlanta in the US, Home Depot has about 180 stores across Canada.

In its ruling, tribunal vice chair Ena Chadha has named Home Depot assistant manager Brian Busch for “discriminatory treatment” of Loomba and using “rude and offensive comments” against him because of his religion.

“I am satisfied that the complainant was treated differently because of his turban and that this was negative differential treatment,” Chadha said.

In his testimony, Loomba - employed with Reilly’s Security Services - said he was subjected to the discriminatory treatment December 6, 2006, when he reported for the morning shift at the Home Depot outlet in Milton on the outskirts of Toronto.

Since the outlet was six weeks away from opening and some areas were still under construction, Loomba said he was told to wear a hard hat even though his workplace was away from construction area.

He said when he did not comply, Busch made rude remarks against him on front of other workers.

Loomba added that when he was about to leave after work, he was warned by Busch that those not complying with his rules had been fired in the past.

Filed under: Immigration, World

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