Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

A Plea For the Workplace Religious Freedom Act


Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center makes his case for passage of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act in an article on the Center's website. S. 873 sponsored by senators on the opposite ends of the political spectrum, Senator Rick Santorum, a conservative from Pennsylvania, and Senator John Kerry, a liberal from Massachusetts along with 18 others, still has not garnered much traction. Its main purpose would be to reverse the limited meaning of undue hardship in Title VII's obligation of religious accommodation as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison. Haynes recounts a number of religious groups who have experienced repeated problems in the workplace. The WRFA would replace Hardison's requirement that an employer is not required to provide an accommodation if its cost is more than de minimis, with a requirement that the accommodation be made unless it requires a “significant difficulty or expense.”


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