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SWEDENSTAN: Hijab becomes part of the security uniform

Hijab becomes part of the security uniform

One of the largest security companies in the Nordic region now allows hijabs to be included as part of the security uniform. In an internal newsletter, which Social News has discovered, it is even suggested that employees can buy a black “neutral” hijab. 

By – Brünnhilde

Both the Swedish Parliament, Säpo and Stockholm County Council use guards from the company.

There has recently been a stormy debate around the issue of hijab as part of the security uniform. The company Securitas has introduced a new neutrality policy prohibiting employees from wearing veils or hijabs. Aftonbladet has interviewed ex-employee Hoda who worked as a guard and wanted to wear veil in the workplace.

The letter, signed by Avar’s HR Manager Pia Hesselgren

Hoda reports to the newspaper that she has chosen to voluntarily terminate her employment as a result of the policy.

Social News can today reveal that another well-known security company has already allowed the hijab to be a part of its security uniform. In a newsletter of April 30 that we have discovered, employees at the company Avarn Security (former G4S) are informed that the company has received approval from the County Administrative Board to use hijab in the security uniform. The letter, signed by Avar’s HR Manager Pia Hesselgren, also provides tips on where to buy a black “neutral” hijab.

Avarn Security with 3,500 employees is one of the largest security companies in Sweden. In 2014, the G4S was acquired by the Norwegian-owned Sector Alarm. The name change to Avarn in 2016 became a consequence of the acquisition.

The company has armed security guards who are hired by the Riksdag and Säpo. Another major client of Avarn Security is Stockholm County Council, which uses Avarn’s security for patrol both in public transport in Stockholm as well as in the county hospital.

READ MORE: EU workplace headscarf ban ‘can be legal’, says ECJ

When Samfällsnytt reaches the company’s security manager Marcus Uggeldahl on the phone, he confirms that the decision applies throughout Sweden.

“The question arose in an appointment earlier. Eventually it led us to taking a decision to apply for permission to have employees with hijab,” he explains.

The issue became recent in connection with the fact that, among other things, Hoda resigned on Securitas due to their neutrality policy. Is she welcome to apply for a job with you?

“Everyone is welcome to search for a job with us,” he replied.

What does it send for signals to those looking for a job with you and those who hire Avarn?

“That we want to be an attractive employer for all types of people,” he continues.

Are you aware that hijab is a symbol of women’s oppression? For example, women in Iran struggle to get rid of hijab. What is your perspective on this issue?

“I do not have a point of view as a political position if you think of such things,” he answered.

Although you allow it in the uniform, do you take a political position on the issue?

“It’s just for allowing employment to be possible for those wearing hijab. Securitas has chosen another way. We have chosen to hire people wearing hijab. It is that simple,” he answered.

At present, only ordinary security officers are affected by the decision, but in the future it may also include armed guard guards serving in Swedish Parliament and hired by Säpo.

“We’ll look at it when it’s up to date,” says Marcus Uggeldahl.
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