Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2011 18:27:26 -0600
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
Subject: Re: Burka and safety
In-Reply-To: <BE28425130279043A5B92A2BC7116E234448EB**At_Symbol_Here**>

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 p;
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 er goals?
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 male TAs? 
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.
Medical Toxicologist


Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2011 15:41:29 +0000
From: russell.vernon**At_Symbol_Here**UCR.EDU
S ubject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Burka and safety
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU

Is the Burka made fr om material that is appropriate to the hazards? (Flame resistant or water p roof)?

If so, I=92d embra ce it.

It=92s better than a lab coat!



Russell Vernon, Ph.D.


Environmental Health & Safety

University of Califo rnia, Riverside

900 University Ave

Riverside, CA 9252 1



Direct (951) 827-511 9

Admin (951) 827-5528

Fax (951) 827-5122


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS -L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Yaeger, Mary Ann
Sent: Thu rsday, September 01, 2011 7:28 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
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

Wesley College

120 N. State Street

Dover DE 19901

Ph. 302-736-2389

Fax 302-736-2301


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