On June 26, 2012 the California Senate Judiciary passed AB 1964, the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012. The bill previously passed the State Assembly on May 29, 2012.
AB 1964 would include the practice of wearing religious clothing or a religious hairstyle as a belief or observance covered by existing protections against religious discrimination, and would specify that an accommodation of a person wearing religious clothing or a religious hairstyle that would require that person to be segregated from the public or other employees is not a reasonable accommodation. This bill would further provide that no accommodation is required if an accommodation would result in the violation of specified laws protecting civil rights.
Testifying at Tuesday’s hearing, Assemblymember Yamada (D-Davis) said, “While AB 1964 will protect all religious practices, the bill specifically addresses the high levels of employment discrimination experienced by many Sikh Muslim Americans who are required by their faiths to observe specific religious dress and grooming practices. Relegating an employee to a stock room out of public view will no longer be acceptable as a religious accommodation.”
The bill is now scheduled to be heard before the Senate Appropriations Committee before advancing to a vote on the Senate Floor.
To track the progress of the legislation and read the latest versions of the bill, visit http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/AB_1964/20112012/