With Remembrance Day around the corner, Saskatchewan has turned its legislative mind to wearing poppy at work. The province has introduced a new law that permits employees to wear a poppy in the workplace, as long as it does not pose a danger to workplace health or safety. This raises the question of personal observances in the workplace, and what protections there are for employees and employers alike.
The poppy conversation in Saskatchewan traces back to a similar issue in Ontario where the topic was raised when a prominent grocery store banned staff from wearing poppies on their uniforms. When the employees expressed their concerns that they were not able to wear the commemorative poppy, Ontario ultimately passed a similar law that prohibited employers from banning poppies in the workplace for Remembrance Day. Manitoba has also introduced similar legislation.
Can I wear a poppy at work?
While unfortunate that laws are needed to address poppies in the workplace, the legislation in Ontario, Manitoba and now Saskatchewan will clarify any questions around whether employees are entitled to sport poppies as a means to show respect for veterans while on the clock.
In light of many companies’ increasing concern with being neutral and not ruffling feathers, the provinces have made clear that this should not extend to pride as a Canadian and respect for veterans. While religious and other public observances may be more controversial, we are left without doubt that employees should have the right to wear poppies and commemorate veterans in the workplace.
How can employees seek legal advice and assistance regarding their rights in the workplace?
To better understand your employment rights, we encourage employees to seek legal advice. We at Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.
Author – Rachel Patten