Thursday 8 December 2016

'Pastafarian' who wants to wear colander on head loses bias case

Published 26/04/2016 | 02:30

US case: Lindsay Miller
US case: Lindsay Miller

A self-proclaimed "Pastafarian" was not discriminated against for being refused a driver's licence while wearing a colander on his head, the Workplace Relations Commission has ruled.

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Noel Mulryan claimed he suffered religious discrimination after the Road Safety Authority (RSA) refused to renew his licence in September 2013, when he produced a photograph of himself wearing the metal drainer on his head which he claimed is a form of religious headwear.

Mr Mulryan claimed that wearing the colander is an integral part of his religion, although he admitted he doesn't don the drainer when out socialising or at work, but he wears it occasionally at home when he is "feeling sad and vulnerable."

The RSA refused to renew the licence on the grounds that the kitchen utensil obscured a clear view of his eyes and forehead area.

It also argued he failed to demonstrate that the colander "is related to a religious belief". He was refused a second renewal when he applied for a licence wearing a smaller, bowl-sized colander.

An Equality Officer ruled that "Pastafarianism" is a parody religion, noting its beliefs include a fondness for beer, a belief that "every Friday is a religious holiday" and that pirates were "the original Pastafarians".

In November, a pastafarian and member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in the US, was allowed to wear a colander on her head in her driver's licence photo due to religious beliefs.

Lindsay Miller, who lives in Massachusetts, said wearing the colander allows her to express her beliefs, like other religions.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles said usually head coverings are not permitted for license photos, but exceptions are made for religious beliefs.

Irish Independent

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