Head Scarves Debate

We were delighted to be interviewed recently on Sky TV with regard to the proposed ban on the wearing of head scarves as religious symbolic clothing, at work.

As a business that’s widely-recognised in the Midlands, we’re often asked for our opinion about important social and political issues. Last year, we contributed to a debate on Brexit, and this time, it was about the headwear.

Multi-cultural Workplace

This is always going to be a controversial issue within a workplace, as religious sensibilities clash with internal company rules and, in many cases, with health & safety issues too. However, our MD Wade Lyn was delighted to be interviewed, as Cleone Foods is a fantastic example of a company with good multi-cultural relations. Indeed – you’ve only to see our selection of IIP (Investors In People) awards to see how important this is to us! We believe that a large mix of different ethnicities can enrich the working environment, so we  were more than happy to invite the cameras in to give our opinion.

The resulting footage was fantastic – not only allowing viewers to see us in our working environment, but also to show that sometimes, workplace issues are just not black and white – there’s a whole host of other things to consider, from many different angles.

Headscarves Health & Safety

For our part, there’s a higher driver beyond our control on this particular one. As a food business, we have to adhere to food safety regulations, which means all all hair (including beards), has to be covered up), and all loose clothing has to be removed or covered by overalls. With regard to a headscarf, this means the loose cloth around the neck area may be prone to getting caught in machinery, or falling loose and contaminating food whilst being packed.

For any employers facing such difficulties, we’d recommend looking at gaining accreditation like the IIP awards. This demonstrates that the company actively looks for ways to promote a harmonious and productive working environment. This will make employees feel more valued, and stand any company in good stead when heated debates arise around ethnicity, religion or working practices in general.