Hearings have been held on the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, new legislation introduced by Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.), that would provide better federal protection to workers who face religious discrimination on the job (CT, Oct. 6, 1997, p. 80).

Since 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has required employers to reasonably accommodate workers' religious observance or practice unless the employer demonstrates that such an accommodation would pose an "undue hardship." The Coats-Kerry bill would make freedom of religious practice more secure for employees by defining undue hardship as an action requiring "significant difficulty or expense" on the part of the employer.

During a Labor Committee hearing in October, two Massachusetts workers, who had been fired for refusing to work on Christmas, told their stories. They both lost appeals challenging the firings under Title VII.

December 8, 1997 Vol. 41, No. 14, Page 63

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