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Australian hotel ejects Sikh man for wearing turban

July 04, 2011 12:45 IST
A Sikh man was denied entry into a hotel in Australia as he refused to take off his turban, a media report said on Monday. Confirming the incident, management of Royal English Hotel in Brisbane said it was trying to locate the man, whose identity is yet to be ascertained, to tender an apology.

The hotel management told the Australian Associated Press that one of its staff members at the hotel in Nundah asked the man to remove his turban on Sunday under a no headwear policy. A spokesman for Spirit Hotels, which runs Royal English Hotel, said the decision to ask the man to remove his turban was an oversight.

"Our hotels have a policy where patrons may be asked to remove headwear to help the venue manage security for staff and patrons," the spokesman said.

"However, in this particular incident, the patron should not have been asked to remove his turban, and we are attempting to contact the patron to apologise. The hotel staff is being educated again on correct application of the policy."

The incident came into light after a man called ABC radio about the episode. The caller said that his daughter had been with a group of friends at the hotel when one of them was asked to leave because he was wearing a turban.

He told the ABC radio, the duty manager told them "No we don't care what sort of hat it is; we don't allow anybody to have anything on their head. The bar attendant said 'that's the policy; no-one is allowed to wear a hat'," the caller disclosed.

A leader of Brisbane's Indian community said the eviction was an isolated incident.

Umesh Chandra, who is president of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin and the publisher of Brisbane's Indian Times, said the turban is a respected headwear. He said he had not heard of any incidents where Sikhs wearing turbans on licensed premises have been asked to remove their headwear.

"Even in the police force the turban is widely respected and allowed to be worn by policemen. In Australia, this is an isolated case," he said.

Queensland Hotels Association chief executive Justin O'Connor said hotels had the right to set dress standards and refuse entry or service to anyone who did not comply with their code or breach responsible service of alcohol laws.

"As long as it's not in breach of the anti-discrimination act then they can set a dress code," O'Connor said, adding "I'm just not sure where a turban fits in."

Reports also quoted industry sources says that an overzealous staff member took the hotel's policy of no hats or caps too far.


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