Sikh's Beard Costs Him Alberta Job

July 5, 2008

Author: Keith Gerein, Canwest News Service

Source: The Province/Edmonton Journal

A Sikh worker is headed home to the United Kingdom after he was ordered off a job site in Alberta for refusing to shave his beard.

"I've never, ever been treated like this anywhere else I've been around the world - I'm completely stunned," said 24-year-old Av Singh, who was hired for an eight-week stint as a turbine adviser at a TransAlta Corp. plant west of Edmonton.

He's now heading home three weeks early, after a safety supervisor told him Friday his beard would not allow him to properly wear a protective mask.

He was given the choice of shaving or leaving. Removing the beard is against his religious beliefs, so Singh refused the razor and instead hired a human-rights lawyer.

"I don't know what it's going to achieve, but I don't think it's fair the way I got treated," he said.