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Illinois Passes Religious Garb Law Clarifying Religious Protections Under Illinois Human Rights Law

On August 11, 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law Public Act 100-100, known as the “Religious Garb Law.”  The law amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (“IHRA”) by clarifying the scope of protection for sincerely held religious beliefs.

Specifically, the amendment makes clear that it is a violation of the IHRA for an employer to impose a requirement that would cause an employee to “violate or forgo a sincerely held practice of his or her religion including, but not limited to, the wearing of any attire, clothing, or facial hair in accordance with the requirements of his or her religion.”  However, the law indicates that “[n]othing in this Section prohibits an employer from enacting a dress code or grooming policy that may include restrictions on attire, clothing, or facial hair to maintain workplace safety or food sanitation.”  Moreover, employers may still prohibit attire, clothing and facial hair if failing to do so would result in an undue hardship to the employer’s business.

In essence, this amendment clarifies the scope of religious protections that exist under the IHRA.  Notably, the EEOC has taken the position that Title VII protects religious garb.

© 2018 Proskauer Rose LLP.

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About this Author

Steven J Pearlman, Labor Employment Law Firm, Proskauer Law firm
Partner

Steven Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the firm's Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group, resident in the Chicago office. Steven’s practice focuses on defending complex employment litigation involving claims of discrimination and harassment, wage-and-hour laws and breaches of restrictive covenants (e.g., non-competition agreements). He has successfully tried cases to verdict before judges and juries in Illinois, Florida and California, and defended what is reported to be the largest Illinois-only class action in the history of the U.S....

312-962-3545
Alex Weinstein, Labor Attorney, Proskauer Law Firm
Associate

Alex Weinstein is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. He represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation and counseling.

Alex’s practice focuses on defending companies in both federal and state courts in various industries, including manufacturing, retail, government contracting, utilities, service companies, distribution companies and security. His litigation practice has included class actions and collective actions, general labor and employment, executive disputes, whistleblower claims, government contractor compliance, employee mobility disputes, and wage and hour litigation. He also advises clients on all aspects of employment law, including wage and hour practices, whistleblowers, leave policies, reductions in force, labor relations, flu vaccination policies, and FMLA and ADA compliance and administration.

202.416.5875