Maple Bear Director Allegedly Says Uniform Code Must Be Observed
Singapore’s reputation for being a harmonious multiracial and multicultural country has been under the microscope recently due to recent incidents of racial insensitivity.
Unfortunately, the issue of wearing a hijab at work seems to have also returned.
A job applicant to a preschool has alleged that they asked her whether she’s willing to remove her hijab for work, due to their uniform code.
The centre has responded, saying they don’t restrict staff from wearing the hijab.
They can’t comment further, they added, as the matter is now under police investigation.
Netizen says question came up during job interview
In a Reddit post on Friday (11 Jun), a netizen said that she’d applied for a job as an English teacher with Maple Bear Singapore.
The Canadian preschool, which she described as “prestigious”, has more than 447 schools across the world and close to 40 centres in Singapore, according to their website.
The OP said she was having a Zoom interview with the centre director when a curious question allegedly came up: Is she okay to remove her hijab for work?
When she asked why, the director allegedly replied that the school has to observe a uniform code.
OP doesn’t think her hijab affects her teaching
The OP acknowledged that the wearing of hijab for work has been an issue in Singapore.
For example, the Government is currently considering allowing Muslim nurses to wear the tudung for work, after a minister had previously said that work uniforms must remain secular.
Photo for illustration purposes only.
However, as far as she knows, the wearing of hijabs hasn’t been an issue in the preschool industry.
In fact, she was of the impression that most, if not all, preschools allowed their teachers to wear the head covering with their uniforms.
She felt angry that the centre seemingly had such a policy, as she doesn’t think her hijab affects her teaching in any way.
Director later allegedly says hijab isn’t main consideration
Later, the netizen said she received an email from the centre director, clarifying that the applicant’s wearing of a hijab wasn’t her main consideration.
She allegedly said she asked the question because she only wanted to know what she would wear to work if hired.
The OP also said the director assured her that she wouldn’t be rejected for the job due to her hijab, and she has Malay friends and colleagues.
Thus, she’s not sure whether she had misunderstood anything or not.
Read her full post on Reddit here:
Maple Bear says uniform code doesn’t restrict hijab
Maple Bear addressed the claims in a Facebook post on Friday (11 Jun), saying it was sorry to hear of the applicant’s experience.
The school clarified that its uniform code doesn’t restrict the wearing of the hijab or tudung.
They have “quite a number” of staff who wear hijabs to work, they added, and their schools “welcome teachers of all races and religions”.
Read the full statement here:
Case is under police investigation
In an update, Maple Bear revealed that the case is now under police investigation.
Thus, they can’t comment further.
However, they emphasised that their human resource practices are fair and inclusive.
Not the 1st time
Unfortunately, this isn’t the 1st time that workers’ religious headgear have come under scrutiny.
Retail companies like Sephora had until recently made their staff remove their hijabs for work.
Other head coverings like turbans have also proven to be an issue, for example when a company asked a Sikh job applicant whether it was removable.
Just last year, Tangs removed the restriction on religious headgear for their staff, prompting President Halimah Yacob to say that discrimination has no place in the workplace.
Judge people on their ability & be sensitive
We agree that people should be judged on their ability to do the job and nothing more.
And even if rules are rules, it’s always nice to treat people with a little sensitivity.
Hopefully, the police investigation will provide a clearer picture of what happened in the Maple Bear incident.
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Featured image adapted from Facebook and Maple Bear Singapore.