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turningrite

Awarded for not shaking hand - reasonable accommodation?

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There's a fascinating story in the news about a Muslim woman in Sweden who won an award (in a closely split decision) after a job interview was terminated when she wouldn't shake the interviewer's hand, based on, um, religious/cultural grounds. Apparently, in her country/religion/culture women simply don't do this, while in the West it's simply considered a matter of common etiquette. I guess the point here is that in any job where one might deal with the public one might come into contact with clients who might expect  local customs to prevail over minority cultural practices about which most might understandably be unaware. How would you react to somebody who refused to shake your hand in such a situation? I guess if I were provided a pamphlet in advance explaining the inherent cultural dissonance I could accommodate it, but is it reasonable to expect people to on their own understand these things? Hmmm....

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/muslim-woman-sweden-farah-alhajeh-refuse-shake-hands-employment-interview-uppsala-a8494821.html

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I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I had a woman freind who had to work with a Muslim guy (she was his supervisor) and he refused to shake her hand when they were introduced and thereafter, refused to look at her or barely speak to her.  Working in a warehouse, she finally got him relocated elsewhere, saying that it was a safety concern for her - if an emergency were to happen in the warehouse, it was obvious he would do nothing to help her or any other woman working there.

It reminds me of the girls who all burned to death because they were not allowed out of the burning building without their hijabs and coverings.

It's not so much about the refusal to shake hands - it's the outright replacement of normal human empathy and helpfulness with barbaric and backwards religious nonsense and the attitudes it spawns.

Edited by Goddess
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42 minutes ago, turningrite said:

There's a fascinating story in the news about a Muslim woman in Sweden who won an award (in a closely split decision) after a job interview was terminated when she wouldn't shake the interviewer's hand, based on, um, religious/cultural grounds. Apparently, in her country/religion/culture women simply don't do this, while in the West it's simply considered a matter of common etiquette. I guess the point here is that in any job where one might deal with the public one might come into contact with clients who might expect  local customs to prevail over minority cultural practices about which most might understandably be unaware. How would you react to somebody who refused to shake your hand in such a situation? I guess if I were provided a pamphlet in advance explaining the inherent cultural dissonance I could accommodate it, but is it reasonable to expect people to on their own understand these things? Hmmm....

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/muslim-woman-sweden-farah-alhajeh-refuse-shake-hands-employment-interview-uppsala-a8494821.html

Interesting question.  Some people refuse to shake hands because they are afraid of germs, others because they are just generally uncomfortable with touching, perhaps due to social anxiety or autism.  Aboriginal people also do not shake hands. I have myself declined a handshake due to having a cold. Do we need a pamphlet to deal with the "cultural dissonance" of these other examples in order to acommodate, or would this be a special thing because this story is about a Muslim person?

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This problem could be solved by not allowing people like this into the country in the first place. To say 'women didn't do this in her country' is simply not true. The only Muslim women who won't touch a man not related to them are the extremist kind. 

 

Edited by Argus

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3 hours ago, Argus said:

This problem could be solved by not allowing people like this into the country in the first place.  

Quote

The practice of the traditional Jew is different. The rule is that people of the opposite gender do not even touch each other, let alone shake hands, unless they are husband and wife, siblings, or children with parents and grandparents.

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1051760/jewish/May-I-Shake-the-Ladys-Hand.htm

Do you think that we should disallow traditional Jews from coming to Canada ?  American blacks ?  Do you think making a mountain into a molehill should replace lacrosse as our national sport ?

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22 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

 

Do you think that we should disallow traditional Jews from coming to Canada ?  American blacks ?  Do you think making a mountain into a molehill should replace lacrosse as our national sport ?

I think you're missing the point here. I have in the past worked in roles where I had to manage, hire and fire people. My own attitudes about the people I considered hiring for various roles was impacted less by my personal views than by my sense of how customers and/or clients might perceive them. Hiring is an art as much as anything else and if a candidate is highly focused on their own issues, needs, expectations, sensitivities or rules it sends a message to a hiring manager or committee that it might be risky to assume the candidate will be flexible enough to make a customer or client feel comfortable and/or be able to work with varied and often difficult customers or clients. Perhaps this kind of assessment isn't entirely fair, but it's a function of human nature.

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9 hours ago, turningrite said:

1. I think you're missing the point here.

2. I have in the past worked in roles where I had to manage, hire and fire people. My own attitudes about the people I considered hiring for various roles was impacted less by my personal views than by my sense of how customers and/or clients might perceive them. Hiring is an art as much as anything else and if a candidate is highly focused on their own issues, needs, expectations, sensitivities or rules it sends a message to a hiring manager or committee that it might be risky to assume the candidate will be flexible enough to make a customer or client feel comfortable and/or be able to work with varied and often difficult customers or clients. Perhaps this kind of assessment isn't entirely fair, but it's a function of human nature.

1. My conversation was with Argus, who followed a principle to a conclusion which was a proposal for policy change.  That was the point.  

2. Here is a new point.  Of course you are right.  A woman in a burka with a thick accent who refuses to shake hands will not be a good sales person right ?  She can't play golf with the customers right ?  Except I worked with a Muslim woman who was a great salesperson, who shook hands and drank beer and was always closing.  

So if we're making side-points, then mine is that a lot of these arguments are theoretical, and in truth things actually do change and are changing, and that the case studies that are presented for discussion are edge-cases.  Why this woman would think she was suited for sales is beyond me.  Government regulations providing protection against discrimination are fine but there of course cases where they can't be applied.

But of course it's fun to argue.

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11 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1051760/jewish/May-I-Shake-the-Ladys-Hand.htm

Do you think that we should disallow traditional Jews from coming to Canada ?  American blacks ?  Do you think making a mountain into a molehill should replace lacrosse as our national sport ?

Your problem is you focus on the minutia. You have a very, very short-term narrow focus whereas I look to broader implications and the future. You also rephrase things to suit you. You brought in american blacks simply to suggest racism, for example.

Should we disallow 'traditional Jews' from 'coming to Canada'? No, of course not. Should we disallow the more rigid Jews such as Israel's Haradi from IMMIGRATING to Canada and becoming citizens? Yes. 

It is a molehill that people won't shake hands. Of course! Who cares!?

BUT. And this is the broader part you are determined to ignore. BUT... refusing to touch a person of the opposite sex is an indication of a religious belief which encompasses ones life and sublimates everything else. And we are a secular society. In addition, the shrinking away from touching the opposite sex denotes a religious belief which, in the case of both extreme Muslims and extreme Jews, considers women to be sexual possessions of their men and basically gives them few if any rights. Women in both these groups are inferior and everything about their sexuality must be tightly restricted by the males who own them - by force. 

There are billions who might want to come to Canada. It is my position we should pick and choose among them, and select those who are  both economically and culturally most suited to our society. Your belief seems to be that making such judgement is anathema.But I believe that's because you honestly never look beyond tomorrow to the type of society we are building as we import hundreds of thousands of people every year from deeply religious lands.

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Switzerland, that land of evil far right (alt right) racists has just denied citizenship to a Muslim couple for refusing to shake hands with members of the opposite sex.

Officials stressed they were not rejected based on their religion but for their lack of respect for gender equality.

"The constitution and equality between men and women prevails over bigotry," said Pierre-Antoine Hilbrand, who was part of the commission that interviewed the couple.

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45232147

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18 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

Why this woman would think she was suited for sales is beyond me. 

She had applied for a job as an phone or video interpreter, not sales.  She would not even have been meeting people in person so the handshake wasn't remotely necessary to the job.

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14 minutes ago, Argus said:

1. Your problem is you focus on the minutia. You have a very, very short-term narrow focus whereas I look to broader implications and the future. You also rephrase things to suit you. You brought in american blacks simply to suggest racism, for example.

2. Should we disallow 'traditional Jews' from 'coming to Canada'? No, of course not. Should we disallow the more rigid Jews such as Israel's Haradi from IMMIGRATING to Canada and becoming citizens? Yes. 

It is a molehill that people won't shake hands. Of course! Who cares!?

3. BUT. And this is the broader part you are determined to ignore. BUT... refusing to touch a person of the opposite sex is an indication of a religious belief which encompasses ones life and sublimates everything else. And we are a secular society. In addition, the shrinking away from touching the opposite sex denotes a religious belief which, in the case of both extreme Muslims and extreme Jews, considers women to be sexual possessions of their men and basically gives them few if any rights. Women in both these groups are inferior and everything about their sexuality must be tightly restricted by the males who own them - by force. 

4. There are billions who might want to come to Canada. It is my position we should pick and choose among them, and select those who are  both economically and culturally most suited to our society.

5. Your belief seems to be that making such judgement is anathema.But I believe that's because you honestly never look beyond tomorrow to the type of society we are building as we import hundreds of thousands of people every year from deeply religious lands.

1. Fair comment, but what is this single case of a lady applying for a sales job (!) who refuses to shake hands, but minutia ?  The bridge between this incident and your conclusion was evidence to me as a reader but perhaps I'm mistaken.  As such, you could have also said this: "this is an isolated case, however there are other reasons that we should examine, broadly, immigration from certain cultures".  Also fair comment on rephrasing, however we all do this and sometimes it's unintentional.

2. Well.. the reason I put such energy into conversing on such things with you is that you are principled, and here you prove it once again.  I am, however, still surprised by your conclusion a little.  But I can't say anything about it - you are consistent in your views.  And, of course, the 'public' and 'politicians' would not treat your response here as I have (ie. a logically consistent and principled response) but as something else, even an unfair characterization such as anti-Semitism.

3. Now that you have been clear on your stance - I think you are right as to the symbolism and ancient rational for such rules.  Furthermore reasonable accommodation does not need to be made in every case here.

4. We do this already, but an Iranian tech genius shouldn't be eliminated in favour of a Caucasian Russian ditch digger because of broader implications of religion.

5. I haven't ruled it out in theory.  But I don't trust it, especially since you are about the only person on here who uses any kind of principle in your decision process.  And, for that matter, if you did include religion as an 'indicator variable' with a purely objective/scientific method I doubt it would amount to much.

 

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7 hours ago, Argus said:

There are billions who might want to come to Canada. It is my position we should pick and choose among them, and select those who are  both economically and culturally most suited to our society.

I'm not sure billions want to come to Canada. I think that for a lot of migrants coming to Canada is a means to an end. For some, it offers a respected passport, access to affordable education for their kids, somewhat accessible health care when they need it and a safe haven when things get dicey back home. I recall congratulating a woman at work a couple decades about moving to Canada. She said her main goal and that of her relatives who had come to Canada as well as their hope for the children they were raising here, was to get into the United States. Some would succeed in this, she admitted, and some wouldn't. But at least those stuck here wouldn't be desperately disadvantaged.

Interestingly, Australia, a wealthier and in many ways more attractive destination than Canada, is grappling with problems associated with its similarly large immigration program. Its Productivity Commission fairly recently (releasing its report in 2016, I believe) conducted an extensive examination of the strengths and weaknesses of its policies, reaching some conclusions that I believe Canada also needs to consider. Its examination determined that the so-called demographic boost generated by large-scale immigration is overstated. It also concluded that family class or chain migration (i.e. beyond spouses and natural children) isn't particularly economically productive and generates an over-reliance on government support. And it recommended that immigrants be more carefully selected based on both the specific needs of Australia's economy and the ability of prospective immigrants to integrate, with particular reference to demonstrably effective language skills.

Wouldn't it be nice were we in Canada as rational in our approach to immigration and integration concerns as is apparently the case in Australia rather than relying on ideological bullying to enforce an agenda about which a significant proportion of Canadians are skeptical?

Edited by turningrite

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17 hours ago, dialamah said:

Interesting question.  Some people refuse to shake hands because they are afraid of germs, others because they are just generally uncomfortable with touching, perhaps due to social anxiety or autism.  Aboriginal people also do not shake hands. I have myself declined a handshake due to having a cold. Do we need a pamphlet to deal with the "cultural dissonance" of these other examples in order to acommodate, or would this be a special thing because this story is about a Muslim person?

I shake hands with Aboriginal people all the time.  Not calling you a liar, just wondering where that came from?

That said, as far as the OP is concerned, shouldn't the interviewer take her to the HRC because she discriminated against him based on his gender?

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22 minutes ago, dialamah said:

She had applied for a job as an phone or video interpreter, not sales.  She would not even have been meeting people in person so the handshake wasn't remotely necessary to the job.

Right... then who cares... the person interviewing lost out here IMO.

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Just now, Michael Hardner said:

Right... then who cares... the person interviewing lost out here IMO.

He's probably suffering from PTSD.  He'll need counselling.

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11 minutes ago, bcsapper said:

I shake hands with Aboriginal people all the time.  Not calling you a liar, just wondering where that came from?

https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/handshakes-and-aboriginal-peoples

14 minutes ago, bcsapper said:

That said, as far as the OP is concerned, shouldn't the interviewer take her to the HRC because she discriminated against him based on his gender?

She didn't shake the women's hands either.  She treated both genders the same, so no discrimination.  

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7 minutes ago, dialamah said:

https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/handshakes-and-aboriginal-peoples

She didn't shake the women's hands either.  She treated both genders the same, so no discrimination.  

Ah, I didn't know that.  In the only article I read on the subject, (not here) it said she refused to shake the interviewer's hand because he was male.  Comment retracted!

As for the link, I've never come across that, and I usually wait to see if there's movement from the other side.  (Comes from offering to shake hands with an amputee some years ago)

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11 minutes ago, bcsapper said:

Ah, I didn't know that.  In the only article I read on the subject, (not here) it said she refused to shake the interviewer's hand because he was male.  Comment retracted!

Yes, perhaps the article you first read had a more anti-Islam slant than the OP's article.  Not telling an untruth, but not giving the whole story either.   

Quote

As for the link, I've never come across that, and I usually wait to see if there's movement from the other side.  (Comes from offering to shake hands with an amputee some years ago)

 I was surprised too and suspect its more of a thing in the North or where they haven't interacted as much outside their own community.

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8 minutes ago, dialamah said:

Yes, perhaps the article you first read had a more anti-Islam slant than the OP's article.  Not telling an untruth, but not giving the whole story either.   

 

Actually, I went and looked for it, and oddly enough, it was the same one as in the OP.  Which I had not opened, as is my wont, usually.

A Swedish Muslim woman whose job interview was terminated when she refused to shake hands with a man has won compensation.

Farah Alhajeh, 24, was applying for a job as an interpreter in her hometown of Uppsala when, for religious reasons, she placed her hand over her heart instead of shaking the hand of her male interviewer.

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6 minutes ago, bcsapper said:

Actually, I went and looked for it, and oddly enough, it was the same one as in the OP.  Which I had not opened, as is my wont, usually.

A Swedish Muslim woman whose job interview was terminated when she refused to shake hands with a man has won compensation.

Farah Alhajeh, 24, was applying for a job as an interpreter in her hometown of Uppsala when, for religious reasons, she placed her hand over her heart instead of shaking the hand of her male interviewer.

Further down in the article:

Quote

she had tried to avoid any upset in the interview by greeting both men and women by placing her hand over her heart.

Sounds like two stories were presented: the company claiming she excluded the male, the woman claiming she used the same greeting for both.  Perhaps that explains why the court ruled strictly on religious accommodation grounds, rather than noting that she hadn't treated the men and women differently.

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6 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

2. Well.. the reason I put such energy into conversing on such things with you is that you are principled, and here you prove it once again.  I am, however, still surprised by your conclusion a little.  But I can't say anything about it - you are consistent in your views.  And, of course, the 'public' and 'politicians' would not treat your response here as I have (ie. a logically consistent and principled response) but as something else, even an unfair characterization such as anti-Semitism.[/quote]

Well, thanks. But as I recall JBG refers to these people as 'rats' and has nothing but contempt for them. A lot of other Jews feel the same. Have you looked into how they behave towards women in Israel or in America? These are the guys who gather around and spit at little girls if they're seen walking in their neighborhoods and their skirts are considered too short (ie, above the ankle). The do not work - ever - but spend all day, every day, praying. They collect welfare, and sometimes their wives work.  They are the Jewish version of the Taliban. Why on earth would we want them as immigrants any more than I want people who want to wrap women and girls in a shroud? And I think I've been fairly consistent over the years in opposing antisemitism and unfair attacks on Israel.

6 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

4. We do this already, but an Iranian tech genius shouldn't be eliminated in favour of a Caucasian Russian ditch digger because of broader implications of religion.

We do not judge for cultural adaptability or how well they will fit in. We don't ask about their values or beliefs. It might be an Iranian tech genius would be a worse choice if he's a religious fanatic who thinks women who show an ankle should be beaten.

I was given personality tests for several jobs, and every single competition I went through for the federal government had a series of questions designed to see how well you'd fit into their office environment. Questions like what would you do if your colleague did this, or what would you do if there was this problem with your manager, or what would you do if you had a conflict over this… etc. And no job I ever applied for failed to do an interview, sometimes more than one, to prod me about my attitude and beliefs and ambitions. I see bringing over immigrants in the same vein as hiring employees. Except with immigrants  we can't get rid of them if they turn out to be unsuitable later. 

6 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

5. I haven't ruled it out in theory.  But I don't trust it, especially since you are about the only person on here who uses any kind of principle in your decision process.  And, for that matter, if you did include religion as an 'indicator variable' with a purely objective/scientific method I doubt it would amount to much.

I'm not saying to include religion. I'm saying there ought to be an interview process with a personality test to assess suitability. Failing that, since we don't want to judge individuals, I'd accept barring all immigrants from parts of the world which produce (by government statistics), economically less successful immigrants. I'm guessing that would bar most of the culturally unsuccessful ones too.

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22 hours ago, Argus said:

1.  A lot of other Jews feel the same. Have you looked into how they behave towards women in Israel or in America?  

2. We do not judge for cultural adaptability or how well they will fit in. We don't ask about their values or beliefs. It might be an Iranian tech genius would be a worse choice if he's a religious fanatic who thinks women who show an ankle should be beaten.

3. I'm not saying to include religion. I'm saying there ought to be an interview process with a personality test to assess suitability. 

1. I wonder if they can speak out in their narrower or wider communities ?

2. I believe we do ask some screening questions ?  

3. Sounds reasonable.

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