Religious Freedom Exemption

If you’re interested in Oregon and/or in religious freedom legal issues and/or public schools, this will interest you.

A bill passed by the Oregon Legislature that broadens religious freedom in the workplace has prompted protests by some faith leaders because it exempts schools.

The bill requires employers to allow workers to wear certain clothing, grow beards and take certain days off to observe their religious practices. But it specifically carves out school districts in Oregon, one of two states that expressly forbid teachers from wearing religious clothing.


The bill, titled the “Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act” grants workers wide religious leeway as long as the activity, clothing or other practices don’t cause an undue hardship on the employer. Religious organizations typically applaud such measures.

But the school exemption has highlighted what some think is a glaring hole in Oregon’s efforts to expand religious freedoms.


Oregon has had a law on the books for decades that states: “No teacher in any public school shall wear any religious dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher.” Pennsylvania has a similar law.

Oregon’s law was tested in the 1980s, when a Sikh teacher was suspended from her job as a Eugene special education teacher for wearing a white turban and white clothes to class. The case went before the Oregon Supreme Court, which upheld the suspension. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

I saw this night before last, saved it as a draft to post yesterday, and forgot.

Source: The Oregonian

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