With the challenges we have faced in the past 2 years, wouldn’t you think we would embrace each other, accept others for who they are, respect individuality and diversity? One would think so, but when I read a recent article in Medscape UK, it took me aback, I was not only surprised but disappointed in humanity in general. A healthcare organization was criticized by its Quality Commission for allowing staff to wear necklaces in clinical areas. The organization decided to enforce its “no necklace” policy and asked an employee to remove her necklace several times. The employee felt discriminated against as her necklace was a “cross”, a symbol of Christianity, and took her concern to the London South Employment Tribune and won.
Think about what staff wear in clinical areas in your center, up to and including lanyards supplied by you, what are the risks? That was the argument this employee made, and she won, she is allowed to continue wearing her cross necklace. Bottom line? We all want safe work conditions, no one wants to increase risk to our caregivers due to unsafe practices. So, question, do you provide lanyards for your staff to hang around their necks with their name tags, etc. on them? If so, are the lanyards “breakaway”? How about clogs? Many nurses wear these backless shoes in clinical areas which could also increase risk of injury.
At the end of the day, live and let live, within reason! Walk around your center, look at the footwear your staff are wearing (trip hazards), check out the long, artificial nails (infection control), are you providing lanyards that do not “breakaway” (choking hazard if a resident were to grab onto it), the list could go on and on. Do the right things for the right reasons, review your policy on employee attire, update it if it doesn’t meet current practices, and enforce it consistently and reasonably. Stay the course, stay informed, and stay well!