DON’T JUST MOURN ANTI-RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE! SHOW YOUR OUTRAGE
DON’T JUST MOURN ANTI-RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE!
SHOW YOUR OUTRAGE BY URGING YOUR CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR TO VOTE FOR
AB 1964—THE WORKPLACE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT
August 6, 1012
I was shocked and outraged that an American, a former soldier, would walk into a Sikh temple on the day of worship, and open fire with rounds of automatic weapons fire. The Sikhs are my friends. They are your neighbors. Sikhs are Americans, not strangers. They are “us” not “them.”
We do not need to feel powerless at such acts of violence. We can do something to combat religious bigotry. One of the worst vestiges of such bigotry in our nation is found every day in the workplace, where people of faith are routinely excluded because of how they look, or what day they set aside for worship. Sikhs and Seventh-day Adventists have something in common: we both suffer pervasive religious discrimination in the workplace. What’s more, we are partners in urging passage of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, AB 1964, coming up for a vote in the California Senate later in August.
AB 1964 will clarify that employers must provide religious accommodation to workers whose faith conflicts with job duties, unless it would cause a hardship amounting to a significant difficulty or expense. Many companies assume the weak Federal standard applies, requiring them to do the absolute minimum to accommodate.
For Seventh-day Adventists, in most cases, the need for scheduling adjustments to avoid working on Sabbath do not cost the employer, and can be readily achieved. Yet, many companies insist on pressuring workers to compromise their faith in order to keep a job.
AB 1964 also clarifies that existing protections apply to those who express their faith publicly, by the way they dress or appear. Companies do not have the right to require workers to conform to homogenized corporate dress codes, where they conflict with sincerely held religious beliefs. In this age of “diversity,” it is not offensive for someone serving the public to appear wearing a cross around their neck, a yarmulke [Jewish men wear as a head covering] a turban, as the Sikhs do, or a beard. Companies should not segregate such workers from the public, or worse, fire them, because their faith requires them to look different.
To date there has been no public opposition, and strong support. AB 1964 has already passed the Assembly Floor by a vote of 63 to 1. It was expected to be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee, but they released the bill since it won’t cost the state anything.
For the text of the bill: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120AB1964
If you do not know who your representative is you can go to: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html