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H.R. 5233 (103rd): Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 1994

The text of the bill below is as of Oct 6, 1994 (Introduced).

HR 5233 IH


2d Session

H. R. 5233

To amend title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with respect to religious accommodation in employment.


October 6, 1994

Mr. NADLER (for himself, Mr. SCHUMER, Mr. SAXTON, Mr. LIPINSKI, Mrs. MALONEY, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. HASTINGS, Mr. CARDIN, and Mr. OWENS) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor


To amend title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with respect to religious accommodation in employment.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ‘Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 1994’.


    Section 701(j) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e(j)) is amended--

      (1) by inserting ‘(1)’ after ‘(j)’,

      (2) by inserting ‘, after initiating and engaging in an affirmative and bona fide effort,’ after ‘unable’, and

      (3) by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), an accommodation by the employer shall not be deemed to be reasonable if--

      ‘(A) such accommodation does not remove the conflict between employment requirements and the employee’s religious observance or practice; or

      ‘(B)(i) the employee or prospective employee demonstrates to the employer the availability of an alternative accommodation less onerous to the employee that may be made by the employer without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business; and

      ‘(ii) the employer refuses to make such accommodation.

    ‘(3) It shall not be a defense to a claim of unlawful employment practice for failure to provide a reasonable accommodation that such accommodation would be in violation of a bona fide seniority system if, in order for the employer to reasonably accommodate to such observance or practice--

      ‘(A) an adjustment is made in the employee’s work hours (including an adjustment that requires the employee to work overtime in order to avoid working at a time that abstention from work is necessary to satisfy religious requirements), shift, or job assignment, that would not be available to any employee but for such accommodation; or

      ‘(B) the employee and any other employee voluntarily exchange shifts or job assignments, or voluntarily make some other arrangement between or among them.

    ‘(4) As used in this subsection, the term ‘undue hardship’ means an action requiring significant difficulty or expense. For purposes of determining whether an action requires significant difficulty or expense--

      ‘(A) the identifiable cost of the accommodation in relation to the size and operating cost of the employer; and

      ‘(B) the number of individuals who will need a particular accommodation to a religious observance or practice;

    shall be included in the consideration of other factors.

    ‘(5) An employer shall not be required to pay premium wages for work performed during hours to which such premium wages would ordinarily be applicable, if work is performed during such hours only to accommodate religious requirements of an employee.’.


    (a) EFFECTIVE DATE- Except as provided in subsection (b), this Act and the amendments made by section 2 shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.

    (b) APPLICATION OF AMENDMENTS- The amendments made by section 2 shall not apply with respect to conduct occurring before the date of the enactment of this Act.