A Canadian woman of the Muslim faith was working at Pearson International Airport when confronted with an issue regarding the length of her skirt. Her position required wearing a uniform whose skirt reached to about her knees, but the woman refused to wear this garment on grounds it violated her Muslim dress code. She proceeded to wear a skirt that was in accordance with Muslim religious practice and was fired. A Canadian court ruled she should be reinstated and placed in an administrative position until authorities can clarify the nature of dress codes for personnel at Canadian airports.
At first glance, this case is of relative minor importance, but it does raises questions regarding the extent to which religious belief can impact the manner in which one conducts a job. I was teaching at an urban college which had many Muslim students. Some of the females(about 40%) covered their faces which made it difficult to ascertain comprehension when either I or another student was talking. I also placed these women in groups containing males which undoubtedly for them raised questions. Ironically, the Orthodox Jewish females in my class also had concerns analogous to the Muslim females. I must confess feeling awkward and uncertain at times when meeting with females in my office since I did not wish to make them feel uncomfortable being in a room with a male. These are interesting new issues for many aspects of modern society.