Albany, New York Assemblyman David I. Weprin, Senator John C. Liu, and religious freedom advocates from across the spectrum stood on the Assembly steps to announce Assembly passage of A04204, The Religious Garb Bill.
The legislation, which prohibits discrimination against religious attire and appearances, passed the Assembly chamber 106 to 1. It was first introduced by Weprin in 2011, has passed in the Assembly each year since 2013 and is currently being carried by Senator Liu in the Senate. Weprin and Liu expect the Senate to pass the bill this year thanks to the change in Senate leadership.
The bill is intended to protect the rights of all New Yorkers regardless of religion in the workplace. The legislation was inspired by the case of Kevin Harrington, a Sikh subway operator for the MTA, who was ordered to remove his turban or deface it with an MTA logo. No New Yorker should have to choose between their job and religious obligations. This bill would end workplace discrimination with regard to religious expression.
With hate crimes on the rise, we must make it clear that New York will not tolerate any form of discrimination against people of faith, said Assemblymember David Weprin. This legislation would ensure that no one is ever forced to choose between adhering to their religious beliefs and earning a living.
"In this day and age, no New Yorker should have to choose between gainful employment and faithful adherence to their religious beliefs, said Senator John C. Liu. This bill will at long last rid our state of this type of religious discrimination in the workplace.