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S. 2572 (107th): Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2002

The text of the bill below is as of May 23, 2002 (Introduced).


S 2572 IS

107th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2572

To amend title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to establish provisions with respect to religious accommodation in employment, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 23, 2002

Mr. KERRY (for himself, Mr. SANTORUM, Mr. LIEBERMAN, Mr. SMITH of Oregon, Ms. MIKULSKI, Mr. BROWNBACK, Mrs. MURRAY, and Mr. HUTCHINSON) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To amend title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to establish provisions with respect to religious accommodation in employment, and for other purposes.

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2002’.

SEC. 2. AMENDMENTS.

    (a) DEFINITIONS- 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’;

      (3) by striking ‘an employee’s’ and all that follows through ‘religious’ and inserting ‘an employee’s religious’; and

      (4) by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(2)(A) In this subsection, the term ‘employee’ includes an employee (as defined in subsection (f)), or a prospective employee, who, with or without reasonable accommodation, is qualified to perform the essential functions of the employment position that such individual holds or desires.

    ‘(B) In this paragraph, the term ‘perform the essential functions’ includes carrying out the core requirements of an employment position and does not include carrying out practices relating to clothing, practices relating to taking time off, or other practices that may have a temporary or tangential impact on the ability to perform job functions, if any of the practices described in this subparagraph restrict the ability to wear religious clothing, to take time off for a holy day, or to participate in a religious observance or practice.

    ‘(3) In this subsection, the term ‘undue hardship’ means an accommodation requiring significant difficulty or expense. For purposes of determining whether an accommodation requires significant difficulty or expense, factors to be considered in making the determination shall include--

      ‘(A) the identifiable cost of the accommodation, including the costs of loss of productivity and of retraining or hiring employees or transferring employees from 1 facility to another;

      ‘(B) the overall financial resources and size of the employer involved, relative to the number of its employees; and

      ‘(C) for an employer with multiple facilities, the geographic separateness or administrative or fiscal relationship of the facilities.’.

    (b) EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES- Section 703 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 2000e-2) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(o)(1) In this subsection:

      ‘(A) The term ‘employee’ has the meaning given the term in section 701(j)(2).

      ‘(B) The term ‘leave of general usage’ means leave provided under the policy or program of an employer, under which--

        ‘(i) an employee may take leave by adjusting or altering the work schedule or assignment of the employee according to criteria determined by the employer; and

        ‘(ii) the employee may determine the purpose for which the leave is to be utilized.

    ‘(2) For purposes of determining whether an employer has committed an unlawful employment practice under this title by failing to provide a reasonable accommodation to the religious observance or practice of an employee, for an accommodation to be considered to be reasonable, the accommodation shall remove the conflict between employment requirements and the religious observance or practice of the employee.

    ‘(3) An employer shall be considered to commit such a practice by failing to provide such a reasonable accommodation for an employee if the employer refuses to permit the employee to utilize leave of general usage to remove such a conflict solely because the leave will be used to accommodate the religious observance or practice of the employee.’.

SEC. 3. EFFECTIVE DATE; APPLICATION OF AMENDMENTS.

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

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