OU Applauds New York City’s Workplace Religious Freedom Act

Posted on September 7, 2011 In Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (the Orthodox Union), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization representing nearly 1,000 synagogues nationwide, applauds New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for signing into law safeguards requiring reasonable accommodation in the workplace for religious observance.

Int. No. 632-A, which takes effect immediately, was sponsored by Councilman Mark Weprin.  It imposes civil penalties against employers failing to make “reasonable accommodations” for the religious beliefs of workers absent a showing of “undue hardship.”  New York State already passed a similar measure several years ago which enjoyed the backing of Governor George Pataki, Speaker Sheldon Silver and others, including the Attorney General.  In 2008, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed into law a series of measures sponsored by Assemblyman Gary Schaer that provide for similar protections.

Howie Beigelman, OU Director of State Affairs, stated:

“Sadly, today too many today are still forced to choose between faith and livelihood. By New York City enacting this legislation and joining the state, New Jersey and Massachusetts, which all have similar laws,, the City Council and Mayor Bloomberg protect employees while making New York a better place to live and work for thousands. Especially in the absence of much needed federal legislation, we thank all the sponsors, including the prime sponsor, Councilman Weprin and Mayor Bloomberg as well for signing this legislation.”