Exclusively Employment Law

Can your employer restrict your religious wear?

by | Apr 5, 2022 | Discrimination

You are Muslim, and you wear a hijab at work. One day, your manager tells you to take off your hijab because your expression of faith is allegedly making other employees and customers “uncomfortable.”

Is this legal? Probably not. Under both federal law and California law, employees have a right to expect reasonable accommodations for their religious beliefs – with some exceptions.

What’s the rule on religious accommodation in the workplace?

Religious beliefs and observations – which include religious articles of dress – generally must be accommodated unless the employer can show that such accommodations would cause undue hardship for the operation of the business.

Moreover, the California Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012 (“WRFA”) takes the obligation of employers to accommodate their employees’ religious beliefs a step further: The employer must show that the hardship would involve a significant expense or difficulty for the business.

Ultimately, every situation must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but it is highly unlikely that someone’s subjective discomfort and bias against an article of faith – whether that is a crucifix, a turban, or a Mjölnir – would qualify as a “significant” expense or difficulty for a company’s operations.

In addition, it should be noted that employees cannot be disciplined or retaliated against because of their refusal to comply with an employer’s unreasonable request or demand related to the employees’ religious garb.

If you believe that you have been subjected to religious discrimination at work, call 916-612-0326 or email ([email protected]) Finley Employment Law today. Finley Employment Law serves clients throughout California, including Sacramento, Roseville, Davis, Folsom, and Elk Grove.

The information in this blog post is for general informational and advertising purposes only and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Instead, you should speak with a California employment attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.