California Assembly Bill 1964 – Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012 – In Effect January 1, 2013


by Sayema Hameed

On January 1, 2013, California bill AB 1964, the “Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012,” went into effect.  AB 1964, signed into law by California Governor Jerry Grown, amends California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to explicitly state that religious dress and grooming practices are covered by FEHA’s protections against religious discrimination.

Specifically, AB 1964 expands FEHA’s definition of “religious creed,” “religion,” “religious observance,” “religious belief,” and “creed” to include religious dress and grooming practices.

“Religious dress practice” includes the wearing or carrying of religious clothing, head or face coverings, jewelry, artifacts, and any other item that is part of the observance by an individual of his or her religious creed.  This definition would include hijabs, turbans and yarmulkes.  “Religious grooming practice” includes all forms of head, facial, and body hair that are part of the observance by an individual of his or her religious creed.  Cal. Gov’t Code Section 12926(p).

The amended law also states that an “accommodation of an individual’s religious dress practice or religious grooming practice is not reasonable if the accommodation requires segregation of the individual from other employees or the public.”  Cal. Gov’t Code Section 12940(l)(2).

You can read AB 1964 here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120AB1964


About Cabada & Hameed LLP

Cabada & Hameed LLP is a law firm serving the greater Southern California region. Formed by “big firm” veterans in 2009, the firm offers exceptional legal representation with experienced attorneys handling Labor & Employment and Business Litigation matters. Partners and co-founders Francisco Cabada and Sayema Hameed bring nearly two decades of legal experience to every matter and ensure that clients receive individualized counsel, around-the-clock availability, the utmost discretion and maintenance of the highest professional and ethical standards. For more information, please visit the website www.cabadahameed.com.


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