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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Muslim driver back after cap flap

A bus driver in the Greater Toronto Area has been reinstated after being suspended on March 17 for refusing to take off his kufi -- an Islamic cap -- while on the job.

McGregory Jackman, a newly hired driver, said he was humiliated when an inspector with his contractor, Veolia Transportation Inc., sent him home for donning the kufi at work.

"Just having to walk off the bus by someone telling you you can't work because of your religious conviction, that was tearing me apart right then and there," said the father of two, who was suspended for a week without pay.

But York Region Transit (YRT) general manager Don Gordon said Jackman, 43, will be back to work today and also be compensated for his time off after a decision made Tuesday between Veolia Transportation Inc. and YRT.

"Mr. Jackman will be permitted to wear his kufi while driving our buses," he said.

Currently, if a YRT employee wants religious accommodation for their garbs, they would have to show a statement written by their respective religious leaders in order to prove their faith.

In Jackman's case, he was asked by his contractor to bring a letter from his imam stating he needed to wear a kufi at work. And that's a policy that will be revised, Gordon said. [Link]

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