Workplace Religious Freedom Bill Finds Revived Interest

May 3, 2010

Author: Lauren E. Bohn

Source: Beliefnet/Religion News Service

More than a decade after it was first introduced, an on-again off-again bill to protect employees' religious expression in the workplace is attracting renewed attention that could lead to action on Capitol Hill in coming weeks.

The Workplace Religious Freedom Act would revise and strengthen the existing requirements imposed on employers to accommodate the religious practices of their employees.

"The bill will be introduced to Congress soon in a fashion that will eliminate the concerns some folks had since its inception," said Richard Foltin, the director of national and legislative affairs for the American Jewish Committee.

Touted in certain circles as the "WRFA god," Foltin co-chairs an unusually broad coalition of almost 40 religious groups, from Sikhs to Seventh-Day Adventists to Southern Baptists, who support the bill's religious freedom expansions.

If passed, the now narrowly tailored legislation would require employers to make reasonable accommodation in the three areas where the vast majority of religious accommodation claims fall: religious clothing, grooming, and scheduling of religious holidays.