AP Photo/ Ryan J. Foley
Within the next few weeks, Congress could once again wrestle with the sensitive issue of religion in the workplace. Recent events across the world highlighting the nation’s increasing multicultural identity, have sparked renewed interest in The Workplace Freedom Act (WFRA). First introduced in 2005, if passed, the bill would strengthen and expand existing laws requiring employers to accommodate the religious practices of their employees, specifically in the areas of religious holidays, religious clothing and grooming.
Although the bill has garnered broad support within congress and throughout the religious community, it continues to face fierce disapproval. The American Civil Liberties Union and some business organizations, have expressed opposition to the act on the grounds that it is overly broad and could potentially erode (rather than protect) civil rights. They fear that the liberal revisions under consideration, could have the effect of allowing the religious expressions of one employee, to negatively impact many others.
In 2009, Tennessee became one of 15 states to pass legislation intended to further preserve religious freedom. Though not aimed specifically at workplace issues, the legislation attempts to preserve the individual right to engage in the free exercise of religion.