Islamic Lifestyle

Right to wear headscarf at work protected by Federal Constitution, says human rights body

| 13 November, 2017
 AMIR ABD HAMID AND SURAYA ROSLAN
Right to wear headscarf at work protected by Federal Constitution, says human rights body
(File pix) Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) chief executive Azril Mohd Amin said employers who failed to respect the freedom of religious practice to wear a headscarf at the workplace were violating Article 11 of the Federal Constitution. Pix by Syarafiq Abd Samad / New Straits Times

NOVEMBER 13, 2017 | 10:01AM MYT | KUALA LUMPUR

Women working in customer service or in the frontline who are prohibited from wearing headscarves can take legal action aganist their employers, a human rights group said.

Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) chief executive Azril Mohd Amin said employers who failed to respect the freedom of religious practice to wear a headscarf at the workplace were violating Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

All Malaysians, he said, had the right to practise their individual religion even if employers had the authority to impose a dress code on employees.

“The wearing of religious articles is only unnecessary if it disrupts the task one undertakes or their safety and public harmony. Wearing headscarves obviously does not fall under these categories.

“The Tourism and Culture Ministry and Women Development, Family and Community Ministry must take immediate action and change policies practised by some hotels in the country that stop women with headscarves from working in the frontline,” he told Harian Metro.

Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said the act of not allowing women to work in the frontline for the sake of following standard operation procedure was uncalled for.

“I support for action to be taken on companies which discriminate women with headscarves and for their business licences to be revoked.

“Responsible Muslims and anyone who value human rights must boycott these companies and their products,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page, adding that a list of such companies must be made public.

Malaysian Labour Centre of the Union Network International had recently received a complaint from a woman who was ordered to remove her headscarf while working in a hotel.

The same rule was apparently applied to students attending a course at the hotel for practical training.

Malaysia Association of Hotels president Cheah Swee Han however had defended the hotel’s action, saying it was part of an international policy and that every hotel had their own standard operation procedures.

Translated from Harian Metro

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