Workplace Religious Freedom in CA takes another step forward

"Sikh community members in attendance at the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing." (Photo Credit: Karaminder Ghuman |

“Sikh community members in attendance at the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing.” (Photo Credit: Karaminder Ghuman |

After recently being approved by the California State Assembly, the proposed Workplace Religious Freedom Act (AB1964) took another step forward yesterday on the path to becoming law when it was passed by the State Senate Judiciary Committee:

Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada was joined Tuesday by representatives from the interfaith and civil rights community as AB 1964, the Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

AB 1964 strengthens the religious accommodation standard under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and ensures that employees need not make a choice between the observance of their faith and keeping their jobs.

The Sikh community was well-represented and joined by other community members in the Hearing at the State Capitol to support this bill, which has a direct impact upon the ability of Sikhs in California to be employed without discrimination:

“While AB 1964 will protect all religious practices, the bill specifically addresses the high levels of employment discrimination experienced by many Sikh [and] Muslim Americans who are required by their faiths to observe specific religious dress and grooming practices,” said Yamada, D-Davis. “Relegating an employee to a stock room out of public view will no longer be acceptable as a religious accommodation.”

However, there are still significant milestones to pass in the coming weeks before this bill can reach the California Governor’s desk to become law, including a review by the Senate Appropriations Committee and, if that is achieved, a vote on the Senate floor.

If you live in California, please take a few moments to contact your State Senator to ask them to support the bill via the Sikh Coalition petition.

Additional photos of the Senate Judiciary Hearing are available on the Sikh Coalition Facebook page.


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