UC Law Journal


While statutes governing employer accommodation of employee religious practices have been challenged on constitutional grounds in the federal appellate courts, the Supreme Court has not yet determined whether religious accommodation in the workplace violates the establishment clause. The Supreme Court will have the opportunity to resolve this issue in Estate of Thornton v. Caldor, Inc. This case, which involves a Connecticut statute that prohibits an employer from requiring employees to work on their designated day of Sabbath, may significantly affect the future of the religious accommodation doctrine at both the state and federal levels. This Note examines the constitutionality of the mandatory accommodation statute at issue in Thornton and of the "reasonable accommodation" provision of title VII, concluding that both statutes are unconstitutional because they provide an employment benefit on an explicitly religious basis. Finally, the Note concludes that the Supreme Court should invalidate the Connecticut statute in Thornton and leave the responsibility for religious accommodation in the workplace to the employer and employee.

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