The Workplace Religious Freedom Act (the WFRA) is a California law that became effective on January 1 of this year. The WFRA expands the California Fair Employment and Housing Act in order to prevent employment discrimination based on religion.

Currently, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits harassment and discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, and more. The WFRA expands the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s definition of “religious belief, observance, and practice” to include “religious dress and grooming standards”. Religious dress includes wearing or carrying religious clothing, head or face coverings, jewelry, artifacts, and any other religious item. Religious grooming standards include all forms of head, facial and body hair that are a part of the observance of a person of his or her religion. Therefore, after January 1, workers can’t be discriminated against because they wear certain religious clothing or choose to grow a long beard or long hair due to their religious beliefs.

The Fair Employment and Housing Act already required employers to reasonably accommodate an individual’s religious belief unless the accommodation would be an undue hardship. The WFRA now clarifies that portion of the Fair Employment and Housing Act to state that an accommodation is not reasonable if it requires the employee to be segregated from other employees or the public.

At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes in an employee’s right to observe their religious beliefs at work without being harassed, demoted or terminated because of those beliefs. If you believe you have been discriminated against at work in San Francisco, Tracy, Fairfield or Oakland because of your religion, call Micha Star Liberty, Hayward employment discrimination attorney, at 415-896-1000.

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