Civil Rights Act of 1964 definition
A federal law that authorized federal action against segregation in public accommodations, public facilities, and employment. The law was passed during a period of great strength for the civil rights movement, and President Lyndon Johnson persuaded many reluctant members of Congress to support the law.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
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There are several things I have learned by following this case. One thing surprised me most as I have always sided on the side of religious freedom. What surprised me was that my views waffled between this being a religious issue, human rights issue and a personal choice. The media has jumped on this case and championed Ms. Elauf. When Samantha Elauf was turned away from a job because she wore a black hijab during an interview for a job the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission picked it up as a religious fight all the way to the Supreme Court, it brought far more into the picture. This ruling would allow for other religious reasons that an employer may feel interferes with work to be held accountable to 1964 Civil Rights Act. At first I was thrilled to see this company being taking to task for infringement on Human Rights, period. Then I stopped to think about the fact that many girls and women view wearing the hijab as an option not a religious rule. It didn’t stop me in my tracks for long because I found that it still was a human rights issue. But what now can be worn or done at a job in the name of religion? This could mean a lot of changes for businesses and more potential lawsuits in a country that is famous for their love of lawsuits.
The famous restaurant chain, Hooters, clearly state the way a girl should wear her makeup and hair during working hours. It is a statement that has to be signed. What if it is against someone’s religion to wear makeup or wear that all too familiar uniform? Then I really started thinking. If something is against my religion, if I had one, then I would choose not to do it. It isn’t against my religion but you will not see my face or skimpily clad ass working at Hooters, and it is not because I do not have any ass at all to speak of, rather a choice of what I am comfortable with.
Could Samantha Elauf have chosen not to wear her hijab if she wanted to work at Abercrombie & Fitch? I think that the answer is yes. But, and this is a large BUT, and not the one pictured above, if there are not any laws to protect my ability to make a choice and or businesses are allowed to discriminate even just in this case, then we may as well tear up the Constitution. That is not an America I want to live in.
Our nine Supreme Court judges have heard the argument for Ms. Elauf and according to all of my sources (see citations) they seem to be swayed in favor of Ms. Elauf and the 1964 Civil Rights Act but will not make a ruling until June. Also, it is interesting that Abercrombie & Fitch have since changed their policy to allow women to wear hijabs. According to MSNBC (see citation) the company settled two other similar cases out of court 2013.
They are not the only large company to be sued over the wearing of hijabs or other religious rituals. Disney was sued and settled for a large dollar amount out of court in 2010 over not allowing a young woman to wear a hijab. Red Robin was sued by a man claiming that it was against his religion to cover his tattoos. Again, it was settled out of court. In January of 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that a prisoner in Arkansas be allowed to have a half inch beard for religious reasons. This makes the argument before the Supreme Court even more monumental. What makes a hijab or tattoos or a beard religious? Will this law, if passed, let me claim that it is for religious reasons that I be allowed to paint my face green and wear ONLY a hijab at work?