Several thoughts come to mind. One simply comes from the early impl
ementation of urine drug screening in the workplace in the 1980s whi
ch evolved out of a single railroad incident. As the medical direct
or of this railroad said in a presentation on the topic, if
you want to work for the railroad, you have to wear the railroad
uniform, you have to clock in and clock out, you have to obey all the s
afety regulations, you have to show up on time, and when we tell you,
you have to pee in the cup. If you don't want to do any of those t
hings, then you don't have to work for the railroad. Door's over
there (and we all know the cliche' about the doorknob).
Second, of course none of us want to tell anyone what relig
ion to practice. The Founding Fathers built that into the documents
we all hold dear. So, yes, practice any religion you want.&nbs
Third, in the academic lab, there are two equally important impe
ratives: education and safety. Sacrifice one or the other
, and no one is well served and as we have noted recently, trage
dies may occur.
The hard line is: "Lose the burka and find some other way to satisf
ly your religion or decide you don't want a hands-on laboratory experience.
" It stikes me that depending on the religion, a spiritual adviso
r may be able to give exceptions for specific and worthwhile purposes and t
he student and her acadmeic advisor should explore these. There's a
lso beaucoups and beaucoups of virtual laboratory teaching programs.
; Of course, nothing beats hands-on lab experience, but in this parti
cular case, is it absolutely necessary to the student's academic and care
The softer line is as someone suggested: "Is it just when males are
around that the burka must be worn?" If this is true, then could
you arrange for alternate lab hours with only other female students and fe
But overall, be it employee or student, if the requirements for safety
are certain garb and PPE, then the rules must be the same for all.
; Sure, reasonable accommodation, although unless this student
is also disabled, the ADA doesn't apply.
No one is forced to take a chemistry laboratory course. Tha
t is a personal choice based on career and academic desires. And if
this student wants to pursue a career in chemistry or some other field whe
re this course is required, perhaps it is up to her to work out how she c
an do so productively and safely and within the confines of her personal re
ligion. We got the zero, a whole alphabet, and an incredible un
derstanding of mathematics and astromony from someplaces where certain reli
gions are practiced.
Another 0.76 x 2 cents worth of zinc with a little copper thr
own into the mix, pretty much useless, but still legal tender.
Alan H. Hall, M.D.
Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2011 15:41:29 +0000
ubject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Burka and safety
Is the Burka made fr
om material that is appropriate to the hazards? (Flame resistant or water p
If so, I=92d embra
It=92s better than a
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS
-L**At_Symbol_Here**list.uvm.edu] On Behalf Of Yaeger, Mary Ann
rsday, September 01, 2011 7:28 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Burka and safety
Could others tell me how you deal with a student wh
o wears a Burka taking an organic chemistry class, or any lab class for t
hat matter? We certainly don=92t want to discriminate religiously
, so how do we deal with the safety issues of that. Surprisingly
this is the first time this situation has arisen for us.
MaryAnn Yaeger, MS
Supervisor of Laboratory Services,
Chemical Hygiene Officer
120 N. State Street
Dover DE 19901