Religious Attire Bill Clears Legislature

On April 9, 2019, the New York State Senate passed Bill S.4037-Liu/A.4204-Weprin by a vote of 60-0. The bill had previously passed the Assembly on February 27, 2019. The legislation makes it unlawful for an employer to bar an employee from “wearing attire, clothing, or facial hair in accordance with the requirements of his or her religion.” An employer that “demonstrates that it is unable to reasonably accommodate the employee’s or prospective employee’s sincerely held religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business” is exempt from the law’s requirements. The bill amends an existing law that protects employees from being required to work on the Sabbath or on other holy days.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms supports Bill S.4037-Liu/A.4204-Weprin and encourages Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign it into law. While evangelical Christians are not required by Scripture to wear distinctive clothing or hairstyles, we support the freedoms of persons of other faiths who live in accordance with such requirements. In the United States, no one should be forced to choose between obeying workplace requirements and following the dictates of his or her faith. If Christians want others to respect our religious freedom, we must show respect for the religious freedom of persons of other faiths.