Sikhs to be allowed to wear turbans in the workplace

Under the previous law, Sikhs wearing turbans have not been required to wear motorcycle helmets and Sikhs working in the construction industry have been exempted from rules requiring cranial protection: see s 16(2) Road Traffic Act 1988 and ss 11 & 12 Employment Act 1989. For school pupils there is Mandla v Dowell Lee [1982] UKHL 7 – and the Horses (Protective Headgear for Young Riders) Regulations 1992 exempt a Sikh child under 14 years old from the requirement under the Horses (Protective Headgear for Young Riders) Act 1990 to wear a protective helmet when riding a horse on the road if he is wearing a turban. However, Sikhs working in less dangerous industries such as in factories and warehouses have not until now been exempt – which means that Sikhs in many jobs who chose to wear a turban rather than the required head protection risked disciplinary action or dismissal.

The Government has announced that turban-wearing Sikhs now have the right to choose not to wear head protection and will be exempt from legal requirements to wear a safety helmet in the majority of workplaces. Continue reading