This week two employees have been suspended from their jobs because of the clothes and jewellery they wear. I have to say that I am quite appalled to see Government Ministers call for Aishah Azmi to be sacked if she doesn't remove her veil at work. She has agreed to take off her veil while teaching the children, but to wear it while male colleagues are present. Why can this not be an acceptable compromise?
Now BA has suspended a check in clerk for refusing to cover her necklace with a cross on it. They say that all jewellery, including religious symbols, should be worn underneath clothing.
Now, when I check in for a flight, I expect this to be done quickly and efficiently. I also like the check-in clerk to be friendly and to smile. I don't care what they are wearing. I understand that need for corporate identity and wearing uniform, but there is place for individual expression within that.
When I send my daughter to school, I expect her to be taught in a positive environment which encourages her to learn. I expect the staff to treat the children and each other with respect. Similarly, I don't care what they wear.
I am quite concerned about the quality of the management decisions which have been taken in both of these cases. Employees perform better when they are treated with respect and given a certain amount of autonomy. There seems to be a move to completely depersonalise work areas in some places, with employees being forbidden to bring in pictures of family to put on their desks. A happy employee is a productive employee, so, unless there is a very good reason, why interfere with what they wear or display?
These are both rows which should never have got this far. They will now presumably be settled in the Courts, at great financial and emotional cost to those involved. What a waste.