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Freedom of Religion at Work

Restrictions of employees' religious speech may violate the First Amendment.

Federal
State:
Key point. Broad restrictions on employees' religious speech may violate the first amendment guaranty of religious freedom.

A federal appeals court ruled that a government agency violated the constitutional rights of employees when it adopted broad bans on religious speech and displays in the workplace. An employee of the State of California began using the acronym "SOTLJ" after his name on documents he prepared in the course of his work. The acronym stood for "Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ," and was used because the employee felt it was important to give credit to God for the work he performed. The state suspended the employee, and then issued orders prohibiting him from (1) using any religious "names, acronyms, or symbols" in the workplace; (2) initiating any religious discussions during the work day; and (3) displaying any religious books or pictures outside of his immediate ...

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Posted:
  • September 1, 1997

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