Faith-Based Employment Law


Reader Gary Gunnels sends word of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, a Rick Santorum/John Kerry co-production. According to the Religion News Service, the bill would "force employers to 'reasonably accommodate' employees who want to wear religious articles or take off time for worship services." (Reminds me of the old Woody Allen routine where "a real dyed-in-the-wool advertising agency on Madison Avenue" hired him "to sit in their office and look Jewish," then fired him because he took off too many Jewish holidays.)

Meanwhile, a new policy in the U.K. would give firms more room for discrimination—not against the religious, but by them. The Independent reports: "The 2003 Employment Equality Regulations were…meant for the first time to give protection to Muslims and to gays. An employer found to discriminate when hiring, promoting, demoting or training staff would be in breach of the law. [But] an exemption applies when an employer acts 'so as to comply with the doctrines of the religion—or so as to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion's followers.'"

Freedom of association: It's a principle that cuts both ways. Small wonder hardly anyone will defend it.