Senators Plan Workplace Religious Protection Bill

July 3, 2002 ( - Senators John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) and Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) plan to introduce legislation to protect workers from on-the-job religious discrimination.

The legislation, S.2572, also known as the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2002, would require employers to “reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious practice or observance unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer”.

“This legislation asks only that employers make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious observance – and that we protect the best of America’s spiritual life even as we leave employers the flexibility they need to run their businesses,” said Kerry.

“We believe in religious freedom in this country, but too often employers are not willing to make slight adjustments that can make a world of difference to their devout workers,” said Senator John Edwards (D-North Carolina).


According to a Kerry press release, the bill would:

  • restore the original intent of the Civil Rights Act and require employers to grant greater accommodations for religious practices, including time off for religious holidays and to allow religiously required clothing, and
  • take into account the size of the company and the number of employees to define what constitutes reasonable accommodation, a definition similar to that used in the Americans with Disabilities Act


The Workplace Religious Freedom Act is co-sponsored by Senators:

  • Sam Brownback (R-Kansas),
  • Hillary Clinton (D-New York),
  • Jon Corzine (D-New Jersey),
  • Larry Craig (R-Idaho),
  • John Ensign (R-Nevada),
  • Tim Hutchinson (R-Arkansas),
  • Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut),
  • Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland),
  • Patty Murray, (D-Washington), and
  • Gordon Smith, (R-Oregon)