Landmark decision in Finland: Sikh busman can wear a turban at work

by , under Finland

The Southern Finland Regional State Administrative Agency announced that banning a Sikh busman from using a turban at work was discriminatory, reports YLE in English. The decision is an important watershed and a victory for other minorities living in Finland. 

The busman, Gill Sukhdarshan Singh of Vantaa, was prohibited from using a turban at work and decided in May to challenge the decision.

The agency said that Singh’s employer, Veolia Transport Vantaa, was guilty of indirect discrimination and ordered the firm to report by the end of September how it plans to redress the problem.

Kuvankaappaus 2013-6-27 kello 22.23.39

The decision in favor of Singh should be seen as a watershed since it will propel greater cultural diversity and tolerance at the workplace.

Eva Biaudet, Finland’s ombudsman for minorities, applauded the decision. She said it was a significant step forward in making cultural diversity more acceptable at the workplace.

Sing’s victory over his employer is a good example of how far Finland lags behind other European countries concerning cultural diversity. Sikh bus drivers in England won such rights over forty years ago in 1969.



  1. JusticeDemon

    It’s not quite as straightforward as you suggest, Ricky.

    The opinions of a labour protection office on matters of this kind are not legally binding orders. Actual enforcement is still a matter for the courts.

    The employer would nevertheless be inviting a lot of trouble by persisting in its policy, not least because it depends on public competitive tendering. Local authorities that have already declared themselves equal opportunity employers can hardly turn a blind eye to the behaviour of their subcontractors.

    The liquid company for which we both worked many years ago hummed and hawed a great deal before finally complying with a similar labour protection office decision in 1988.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      So, JD, we should see how this all pans out. In theory, as you suggest, there may still be some obstacles. Let’s hope not. Did Singh go to work with a turban this week? That’s the question.

  2. Yossie

    So… All kind of work dress requirements can now be ignored since if you dont want to wear them, that puts you to disadvantage and is indirect discrimination?