Religion in the Public Workplace: Regulation and Accommodation

By Schott, Richard G. | The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, June 2007 | Go to article overview

Religion in the Public Workplace: Regulation and Accommodation


Schott, Richard G., The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin


Law enforcement is a unique occupation in many ways. The majority of law enforcement officers wear a uniform while working; many have grooming standards and conduct regulations to which they must adhere; some have sworn to uphold laws with which they do not necessarily agree. For example, the federal Free Access to Clinic Entrance, or FACE, law criminalizes attempts to interfere with a woman's access to an abortion clinic. Enforcing the laws also is, by its very nature, a job requiring continuous staffing--24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. These unique aspects of the profession sometimes cause personal conflicts with individual employees' religious beliefs. For example, what happens when a uniformed patrol officer feels it is a religious duty to violate the department's ban on lapel pins by wearing a Christian cross lapel pin or when a group of Muslim male officers violate a department's "no facial hair" policy by growing beards as required by their religion? What about the captain who refuses to assign officers to maintain order at the sight of an abortion clinic protest because his Catholic faith frowns upon abortion? Finally, how should a department handle a potential scheduling nightmare when its officers raise objections to shift assignments conflicting with their Sabbaths or days of worship? This article addresses these issues and raises awareness of the myriad legal provisions that should govern handling them.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

FIRST AMENDMENT: FREEDOM OF RELIGION

Because law enforcement entities necessarily are part of federal, state, or local governments, they must adhere to constitutional limits and mandates, as well as to relevant legislation relating to religion. In a recent First Amendment freedom of speech case involving an assistant district attorney, the U.S. Supreme Court pointed out that the First Amendment invests public employees with certain rights. (1) Therefore, law enforcement executives must be mindful of the First Amendment's freedom of religion (2) provision when dealing with employees of different faiths.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Uniforms/Grooming Standards

Uniforms are almost as much a part of the law enforcement culture as they are a part of the military culture. As such, policies and restrictions regarding the wearing of them are almost universally upheld. When a department has strict rules concerning the adornment of its uniform, an individual's ability to display a religious item on it may be curtailed. While the assertion of a First Amendment-protected religious right raises the legal bar for law enforcement departments in these cases, (3) courts typically find little sympathy for those individuals who find themselves in this predicament. In Daniels v. City of Arlington, Texas, (4) George Daniels, a 13-year veteran of the police department challenged his department's refusal to allow him to wear a small, gold cross pin on his uniform. Daniels wore the pin "as a symbol of his evangelical Christianity" (5) while working in a plainclothes position with the department, and he continued to wear it after reassignment to a uniformed position. The police department in Arlington, as part of its general orders, had a uniform policy that read "No button, badge, medal, or similar symbol or item not listed in this general order will be worn on the uniform shirt unless approved by the police chief in writing on an individual basis." (6) Daniels requested specific allowance, pursuant to this general order, to wear the cross pin on his uniform from the police chief at that time. The chief refused permission but offered several possible accommodations to resolve the situation, including 1) wearing a cross ring or bracelet instead of the pin; 2) wearing the pin under his uniform shirt or collar; or 3) transferring to a nonuniformed position where he would be allowed to wear the pin on his shirt. (7) Daniels declined all of the possible solutions and was fired for insubordination. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Religion in the Public Workplace: Regulation and Accommodation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.