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Thread: Freedom of Religion

  1. #1
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Default Freedom of Religion

    Stumbled across an article on msn yesterday. Couldn't get a link because it was a video that was among a series of videos.

    A female Muslim employee of Disneyworld, who acts in a "hostess-type" capacity. Has been employed by them for two years. During that time she abided by her employer's "dress code" that she could not wear her head scarf while working.

    Then she became a US citizen and is now suing Disney because they will not allow her to wear her head scarf on her job. Disney has offered her alternative positions that do not require her to deal with the public in a hostess capacity, but she has refused that alternative.

    Her contention is that not allowing her to wear her a head scarf (in the video a plain, white scarf not incompatible with her "uniform") interferes with her right to express her religious beliefs.

    Personally, I don't think that her head scarf is a problem for me, and some Disney visitors felt that way; although some felt requiring a "dress code" for employees was legitimate.

    Several issues here ... does the dress code also preclude wearing insignia like a cross or Star of David (which might be jewelry if there is a specific uniform for employee for clothing aside from jewelry). Would she be permitted to wear a piece of jewelry that was akin to a cross? It would appear that the employer has to be consistent in their application of their dress requirements & might also extend that to jewelry ... to remain religion-neutral.

    What if she wanted to wear a burka? Why did she not mind forsaking her head scarf for the previous 2 years in order to hold her job?

    What if other employees were then allowed to wear an armband with a cross or Star of David (I'm only mentioning the more prevalent religious groups for simplicity).

    Would it be appropriate for all employees to wear religious insignia? Would the employer be compelled to modify their dress code to accommodate other religious beliefs?

    Since the employee was aware of the dress code (presumably) when she accepted the position, could the issue be relegated to her personal choice to accept the employer's dress requirements when accepting employment?

    My basic thought, from a legal point of view, is that the employer would have the right to prohibit all religious insignia for their "public" positions, but would have to apply that to all religious groups consistently. IMO, the head scarf is an "insignia", since it is the modernistic version of the modesty coverings associated with the Muslim faith. Feel free to disagree with that perception.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    Don’t private businesses have the right to set uniform appearances for employees?
    I “gear up” for work but if I dress in my work gear while walking down the street folk think I am the stay puff marshmallow man.
    Lots of folk look different at work than on their own time. Girls who give lap dances and Cops are two good examples.
    She does not have to work there.



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    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bora View Post
    Don’t private businesses have the right to set uniform appearances for employees?
    I “gear up” for work but if I dress in my work gear while walking down the street folk think I am the stay puff marshmallow man.
    Lots of folk look different at work than on their own time. Girls who give lap dances and Cops are two good examples.
    She does not have to work there.



    .
    They may set dress code requirements. However, if those dress code requirements are discriminatory based on religion, they may end up being sued. At that point they would have to show why those requirements were established and present a business case. France is a country going through some of this now. They began by outlawing head scarves in public schools. As that was criticized, the ended up outlawing all "conspicuous" signs of religion in public schools, including crosses and Stars of David worn as jewelry. I'm not sure that we as a country want to start down that rocky road.

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    Senior Member subroc's Avatar
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    the fact that she accepted the conditions orinally and now changes her mind leaves her position in doubt.
    subroc

    Article [I.]
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    Article [II.]
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

  5. #5
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    I agree that a head scarf would be akin to wearing a Star of David armband.

    However, if she had some Muslim jewelry such as earings or a "small necklace" I would think that would be acceptable.

    Something that is super conspicuous and basically "flaunted" should be unacceptable in a company that requires a dress code.

    I've worked for several companies where the outside sales staff had to wear "suits" or business attire but the office staff was allowed to dress casual. It comes with the job.

    I've seen lots of companies lately that have people that are tatted up (or sleeved) cover their tattoos.

    Its all a matter of public perception and what the company wants its image to be.

    If you work for me, you will project the image I want as you represent MY company. If you can't do that, go elsewhere.

    WRL

  6. #6
    Senior Member kb27_99's Avatar
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    - Let her sue
    - Let her lose
    -Now let her go back to her own country and wear all the damn scarfs she wants!
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    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WRL View Post
    If you work for me, you will project the image I want as you represent MY company. If you can't do that, go elsewhere.

    WRL
    Does that mean belly dancing in a g-string?

    Seriously, I agree. Its not a freedom of religion issue, its an employers dress code/ image issue. If I wore camo, duckboots and a mega whistle to the hospital, I would be fired in short order. Same principle. If they let folks wear cross or star necklaces, they she must be able to wear the cresent necklace.........but not necessarily an entire wardrobe of her choosing!

    The sad part is, as someone mentioned, let her sue, let her lose...but that will carry a HUGE legal cost to the company....often prohibitive for smaller operations.
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

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    Senior Member road kill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    Does that mean belly dancing in a g-string?

    Seriously, I agree. Its not a freedom of religion issue, its an employers dress code/ image issue. If I wore camo, duckboots and a mega whistle to the hospital, I would be fired in short order. Same principle. If they let folks wear cross or star necklaces, they she must be able to wear the cresent necklace.........but not necessarily an entire wardrobe of her choosing!

    The sad part is, as someone mentioned, let her sue, let her lose...but that will carry a HUGE legal cost to the company....often prohibitive for smaller operations.
    My daughter worked at Disney World in FL.

    The dress code is ridgid.
    It is also something that you must agree to in writing before you start.

    She hasn't got a prayer (no pun intended )!!



    RK
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    Senior Member BonMallari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by road kill View Post
    My daughter worked at Disney World in FL.

    The dress code is ridgid.
    It is also something that you must agree to in writing before you start.

    She hasn't got a prayer (no pun intended )!!



    RK
    Rigid is an understatement, I worked for Knotts Berry Farm throughout HS and the first two years of college and we adopted Disney's dress code...it was strict and has withstood challenges for decades..She is considered in character when appearing in the public eye...We even had to get permission to allow the Rose Bowl Queen and her court to apply a rose sticker on our lapels the week before the game...she will lose along with whoever has an agenda and backing her play
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  10. #10
    Senior Member subroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    Does that mean belly dancing in a g-string?
    If you get hired as a belly dancer in a g-string you will be expeced to "wear your uniform"
    subroc

    Article [I.]
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    Article [II.]
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

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