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The basics of religious dress in the workplace

The improving economy is being manifested through a growing job market. In numbers not seen since the last depression, businesses are hiring employees from diverse backgrounds. This trend is being seen not only in the employment sector, but also in the construction industry as more multifamily projects are being approved.

With more potential workers entering the marketplace, it is inevitable that employees will come from different backgrounds and bring different religious beliefs into the workplace. However, many employers will not know how to properly address questions about religious traditions and dress in the workplace. For current and prospective employees, this post will highlight the basic rights of religious dress in the workplace. 

Essentially, questions about religious freedom in the workplace are governed by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their religion. When it comes to wearing specific garments required by an employee’s religion, employers are required to provide a reasonable accommodation that will allow the employee to express their religious beliefs while still carrying out the duties of their position.

It is common for those who are in economically challenging positions to be afraid of speaking up about their civil rights being violated.  These employees can be forced to abandon religious head dress or other garments in exchange for earning a living, and they should not be required to do so.

If you have questions about whether your civil rights have been violated, an experienced employment law attorney can help. 

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