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Garb Bill Protects Employees’ Right to Observe Faith on Job

Bans Prohibition Of Holy Garments

The Assembly passed legislation last Tuesday, Jan. 14, sponsored by Assemblyman David I. Weprin which prohibits discrimination in the workplace against attire that is worn for a religious purpose.

The legislation passed by a vote of 112-1. Weprin proposed Assembly Bill A864-A in response to a series of cases and concerns from religious communities throughout New York who were discriminated in the workplace due to their religious garb or facial grooming.

“Through the passing of the Religious Garb bill in the New York State Assembly, we celebrate our state’s long standing commitment to promoting religious freedom and equality for all people,” Weprin said. “People should not have to make a choice between working to provide for their families or observing their religion. It is an unacceptable that workers have faced discrimination for wearing their religious attire or facial hair because it is an infringement on their civil liberties. I’m very proud that we passed this bill to ensure that all New Yorkers will be able to freely wear religious garments in the workplace such as hijabs, turbans, kippahs and beards without fear of persecution. Let us be a state that continues to promote diversity, leadership and service in our communities and businesses.”

The bill amends the civil-rights law, the executive law and the labor law in relation to prohibiting discrimination against religious attire, including facial hair. This legislation protects the rights of both uniformed employees and all New Yorkers from discrimination by allowing them to dress according to their religious customs.

It will also protect workers against discrimination for wearing any sort of religiously motivated or mandated garb or appurtenances, including beards, as long as such garb or appearance does not pose a hazard to that person or to the public.

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