Americans United Urges Revision of Workplace Discrimination Act

November 9, 2005

Source: Americans United for Separation of Church and State

On November 9, 2005 Americans United for Separation of Church and State reported, "A proposed federal law intended to protect workers’ religious rights needs to be revised so that it does not end up infringing on the rights of others, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2005 requires employers to make 'reasonable accommodations' for employees’ religious needs unless they cause a 'significant difficulty or expense' to the employers. While intended primarily to cover things like requests for time off for religious observances, the act’s language, Americans United says, is dangerous and could lead to anti-civil and personal rights abuses. As an example, Americans United pointed to a spate of recent news stories involving pharmacists who refuse to fill certain prescriptions because doing so would violate their religious beliefs. AU also fears the measure could be used by employees to trump state and local civil rights laws that protect people from discrimination on the basis of marital status or sexual orientation, as well as employers’ voluntary civil rights and anti-harassment policies."