A Sikh man lost his legal challenge over the Irish police force's refusal to allow him wear a turban after completing the first three stages of his training.
According to the Irish Independent, Ravinder Singh Oberoi was told he would have to wear a standard Irish police hat as part of his uniform, and not a turban, after he completed the first three stages of training for the Irish reserve police force.
Oberoi claimed in a High Court challenge against the Irish Police Commissioner that as a result of the decision he was unable to continue his training and become a member of the reserve.
Oberoi reportedly made his complaint under the Equality Acts claiming he had been treated less favourably in accessing employment and in his conditions of employment.
But the Police Commissioner argued that the Equality Acts do not apply to members of the Police Reserve as they are not 'employees' within the meaning of the Acts and are instead volunteers without contracts of employment.
On Thursday Judge Kevin Feeney agreed with the Police Commissioner that a member of the reserve is not an employee and could not ignore the clear meaning of the Police Act under which members of the force are employed. Under law, members of the Police Reserve were volunteers and did not provide their functions under a contract of employment, he said.
There is also no obligation to provide work to a member of the Garda Reserve, he added. Many who participated in training for the reserve are already in full-time employment and would not want to be full-time members of the police force, he said.
While some members of the reserve may use their experience as a springboard to becoming members of the full-time force, it cannot be argued that training to be a member of the reserve is 'exclusively' concerned with training to be a member of the Police Force, he concluded.
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