Thursday, 15 November 2012

Can a request for a haircut raise human rights issues?

Here is a link to an intriguing article I noticed: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1288023--woman-denied-haircut-goes-to-human-rights-tribunal-of-ontario

According to the Ontario Star, "[a] request for a lunch-hour haircut has turned into a battle over human rights, pitting freedom of religion against a woman’s right not to be denied service based on her gender."

Briefly, Faith McGregor, who wanted a man's haircut (the "businessman") was turned away from a barber shop because the barber's faith (Islam) prevented him from touching a woman who is not a member of his own family.

Despite being offered a haircut by an alternative barber,the problem was not resolved. McGregor remains committed to taking the case to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario because, she says, "this needs to be discussed and now it’s bigger than what occurred with me that one day, in one afternoon."

Pascale Demers, a spokesman for the Ontario Human Rights Commission, said that this matter is one in an increasing number of “competing rights” cases seen by the Human Rights Tribunal.