Calif. Moves To Protect Muslim, Sikh 'Religious Dress' At Work

religious freedom sikh MuslimBy Juliet Williams


SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The state Assembly approved a bill Tuesday that would add more protections for religious freedom in the workplace, specifying that California discrimination laws also should apply to religious clothing, hairstyles and the right to carry religious objects.

The bill's author, Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) said that she was upset to learn that Sikh and Muslim workers continue to face discrimination at work despite laws prohibiting it. AB1964, which passed on a 59-3 vote, also clarifies that segregating an employee from other workers or the public because of their appearance is not an acceptable accommodation under the law.

"This bill is a little bit like the Rosa Parks issue of the 21st century for me," Yamada said. "To know that there are Sikhs and Muslims relegated to the back of the store in order to continue their employment is particularly heinous."

Some lawmakers noted that the law could save the state from costly legal cases, such as a lawsuit that the Department of Corrections settled last year with a Sikh man. He was barred from becoming a prison guard after refusing to shave his beard -- required by his Sikh religion -- so that he could be fitted for a gas mask. The state agreed to pay the man $295,000 in damages and give him a managerial job.

Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) said that she was concerned the changes could endanger employees and their co-workers -- for instance, if oilfield workers were unable to don respirators in the event of a gas leak.

Assemblyman Donald Wagner (R-Irvine), an attorney, said that he has represented an employee who was terminated for wearing a head scarf.

"The federal law doesn't go far enough to accommodate the issues that are important in the modern workforce," said Wagner, who supported the bill.

The legislation now moves to the state Senate.


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Hank

Just another law to let people from other countrys try and change our way, does this mean they get to carrie their knifes out of sight? If our ways are not good enought for them,they can go back where they came from.

May 31 2012 at 2:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ROME

I'm so proud of Cali- good for you. The world is only getting smaller and I love all my brothers and sisters equally I'm so glad we are all showing who we are and what we believe in some no one has to hide in fear of rejection. Religion is how express our morals as well as our beliefs. I feel honored to be part of such a wonderful society and age of enlightenment. Isn't that part of being American too in the land of the proud and free?

May 31 2012 at 1:40 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ROME's comment
glennwarne

We are becoming just like Albania and Serbia. Soon,very soon there will be a breaking point. We are not a whole Culture anymore but bits of countries that do not belong to each other. We are not a melting Pot!! Every foreign body can get its home country's newspaper as well as a cable feed from the Motherland...it is very scary....

May 31 2012 at 3:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
John

Only in California......

May 31 2012 at 12:34 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment
Graydonpow

Yes, only here--but it should be EVERYWHERE!!! SHAME ON YOU!!!!! >:-(

May 31 2012 at 2:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lstnvlly

Apparently Ms. Yamada has never been to a 7-11.
Workers relegated to the back of the store. Who is she kidding.

May 31 2012 at 12:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lstnvlly's comment
glennwarne

They got a Gov't non-repayable loan, They own the store!

May 31 2012 at 3:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lstnvlly

Why should this worry anyone.
The ultra orthodox jew dresses completely in black, as part of their faith.
No one stirring the pot on that issue.
Little catholic school girls running around in short tunics. No one complaining.
People dressed in business suits acting as leaders in the name of freedom of religion.
Anyone complaining.

May 31 2012 at 12:24 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Eye in the Sky

Employers, who find that they have no rights left, will leave California. Is it not reasonable that a person who puts capital or sweat equity at risk ought to be able to run his or her enterprise as they see fit? One could guess that the sponsor of the subject bill has never owned or operated a small business. Why would a person open a retail store, or any other kind of enterprise where employees come into regular contact with the public, if the employee's dress or appearance might, just MIGHT, drive away customers? After 9/11, I won't do business with a mohammedan-owned or -staffed store. That's still my right as an American customer. "Religious freedom" for mohammedans means the freedom to impose their faith on all others... And history shows they'll stop at nothing to do it. Can you say, "World Trade Center?"

May 31 2012 at 12:00 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Eye in the Sky's comment
Jim

What an ignorant post!

When are we going to get serious about calling this kind of crap out! 1. You run your business according to the laws of your state, not 'as you see fit'. 2. You probably do LOTS of business with middle-eastern owned or part-owned businesses, but just don't know it. 3. Imposing faith on others is a christian thing. Muslims do not do that, and by the way, a sikh is not a muslim.

May 31 2012 at 12:46 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
judyr311

Did you know that there were over 200 Muslims killed in the trade towers that day?? Did you also know that there were mosques inside as well???

May 31 2012 at 1:58 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
anrean

The man sues because he is unable to fulfill the requirements of the job...and he knew all along that he wouldn't - what insanity is that???

From the article:

"Some lawmakers noted that the law could save the state from costly legal cases, such as a lawsuit that the Department of Corrections settled last year with a Sikh man. He was barred from becoming a prison guard after refusing to shave his beard -- required by his Sikh religion -- so that he could be fitted for a gas mask. The state agreed to pay the man $295,000 in damages and give him a managerial job."

May 30 2012 at 11:58 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to anrean's comment
qapla5

I'm sorry, but exactly how is being fitted for a gas mask a REQUIREMENT of a job as a prison guard?

Just because a number of so-called Christian men aren't willing to abide by ALL the laws that their Holy Book dictates doesn't mean that adherents of other faiths who DO follow their religious principles should be forced to choose between their faith and a job especially a STATE job which is already expected to not discriminate against people based on RELIGIOUS principles.

If a Christian woman felt she could be a guard at a women's prison but the standard uniform only included slacks and she felt that slacks aren't appropriate attire for women, per the tenets of her faith, would you support her decision to file a lawsuit if she weren't hired? Or what of Christians whose job included the possibility of working on Sundays and even Christmas but, when they were actually scheduled to work on a Christmas Day, they sued claiming their religious freedoms were being infringed. That actually happened in Massachusetts--a group of women working for a state agency were scheduled to work on Christmas (as they'd AGREED to when they were hired) sued, claiming that their religious beliefs weren't being accomodated. And they won.

Oh. That's right. That's Christians. That's a whole different matter.

May 31 2012 at 3:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to qapla5's comment
glennwarne

The arguement has more then two choices....However they use Teargas on the Inmates if there is a riot. So, now that he is not able to be protected will he sue when forced exposer to teargascauses some injury???
Forget the Religion part, how about not hiring a person because they do not speak Spanish???
How could that possibly be a requirement in this country?? The spainish speaking people are getting more benefits then other countries that come here. We do not require others to speak Chinese, nor Russian but you MUST speak Spanish to get hired in the USA!

May 31 2012 at 3:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
ectullis

How about fig leafs?

May 30 2012 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
batzendbelfry

this is NOT a muslim country!!!

May 30 2012 at 11:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to batzendbelfry's comment
ed7063

True this is not a muslim country but unfortunately it is a highly PC country.

May 31 2012 at 12:18 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Jim

Actually, Islam is the fastest growing faith in the U. S. But no one says it is a muslin country, any more than it is a christain country or a jewish country. Religion and government are separate here. Read some James Madison. Explains the reasons behind separation of church and state quite eloquently.

May 31 2012 at 12:48 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment
keep token

islam to sharia law......hope you all read about that. the muslim religion is a religion of hate when it comes to not being muslim. when will you accept your part as an infidel that is supposed to be killed unless you believe in allah!

May 15 2013 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
Steve

Next stop...Women who assert their freedom and independence by being totally subservient to men by dressing up as mummies in public. and have it protected by california law

May 30 2012 at 11:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Steve's comment
judyr311

They dont dress that way because they are subservient to men moreover they are obedient to GOD/Allah......please educate yourself!!

May 31 2012 at 2:00 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to judyr311's comment
glennwarne

and thats a Better reason??? That book gives more rights to the man then the woman.

May 31 2012 at 3:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

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