Friday, January 23, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Yamada introduces new bill to bolster workplace freedoms

Darshan Mundy, public relations officer of the Sikh Temple Sacramento, makes opening comments at a news conference Wednesday at which Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, announced the introduction of AB 1964, a workplace religious freedom act, at Gurdwara Sahib Sikh Temple in West Sacramento. Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is center back. Kim Orendor/Enterprise photo

By
From page A4 | April 12, 2012 |

WEST SACRAMENTO — Surrounded by representatives of various faiths at a news conference Wednesday, Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, announced the introduction of Assembly Bill 1964, which would “update and strengthen” the protections of religious freedoms in the workplace.

The event took place at the Gurdwara Sahib Sikh Temple in West Sacramento.

“Currently, there’s a federal definition of undue hardship, and the state’s definition — it’s a mixed bag,” Yamada told The Enterprise. “We want to strengthen the definition of undue hardship in the state that will provide greater protection to Sikhs and Muslims, and all religious practices that have attire as part of their faith.”

AB 1964 would amend Section 12940 of the Government Code, which prevents employers from discrimination based on a person’s religious belief or observance.

The code reads, “Religious belief or observance, as used in this section, includes, but is not limited to, observance of a Sabbath of other religious holy days or days, and reasonable time necessary for travel prior and subsequent to a religious observance.”

AB 1964 would add: “and the practice of wearing religious clothing or a religious hairstyle.”

It further amends the code to include the wearing of certain apparel or jewelry, carrying an object of faith and styling of hair and beards. The “carrying an object” would give allowance for the Sikhs, who carry a kirban — a small blunted knife — as part of their tenets.

While the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 — from where the bill takes its name — made it illegal to discriminate based on sex, race, color, religion or birthplace for employment, lawsuits have been filed against employers who have found loopholes. Because of their apparel, Sikhs and Muslims are sometimes given jobs that keep them from public interaction.

“Sikhs and Muslims should not have to go to the back of the store to support their families,” Yamada said.

Rajdeep Singh, director of law and policy for The Sikh Coalition, said Sikhs have been in California for more than a century.
“This is a source of hope and inspiration for Sikhs,” he said. “In the private sector, there is discrimination by what people look like. It is a case of ‘separate but equal.’ “

The Church State Council, a religious liberty ministry of the Pacific Union Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventists, put its support behind the bill.

“Because of AB 1964, fewer Californians will suffer the loss of their jobs because of their faith,” said director Dennis Seaton. “Fewer Californians will languish on unemployment rolls because they are unable to obtain jobs.”

AB 1964 faces a hearing Wednesday, April 18, in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee. If it passes, it will go to a second committee before reaching appropriations and finally the Assembly floor.

“We know California has been a leader in civil rights,” Yamada said. “We need to update it to the changing demographics of the state.”

Davis resident Darshan Mundy, who is the public relations officer of Sikh Temple Sacramento, said there are 40,000 Sikhs in the greater metropolitan area and 350,000 in California.

— Reach Kim Orendor at korendor@davisenterprise.net

Comments

comments

.

News

Dude, Be Nice to Ty Brown

By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A1

 
 
UC regents shelve policy tying coach bonuses to academics

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Resolutions you can keep, with help from local businesses

By Bob Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Northeast preps as winter storm approaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Automakers to add electric charging stations

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2

Legislators trade blame over drought bill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
School board introduces new facilities director

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Meet the mayor for coffee at Peet’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Innovation opportunities on the agenda

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Beekeeper’s feast benefits UC Davis honey research

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Community invited to Fenocchio memorial

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Abraham event focuses on justice

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Rebekahs’ crab feed benefits local families

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Davis Arts Center welcomes students’ work

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Brick sales will benefit Hattie Weber Museum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Have a heart for art?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

UCD plans ‘STEM-Tastic Sunday’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Artists offer a peek behind the scenes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Yolo County seeking grand jury candidates

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Spend ‘Better Days’ with Speck at ALS fundraiser

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

‘Mating market’ trumps biology in relationships

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Locals prepare for March for Real Climate Leadership

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Hardwater plays at Soup’s On

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Walkers head out three times weekly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

Falling into old patterns

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Speak out on death with dignity

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Uncompromising opposition

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

On solar and nuclear power

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Bill poses hardship to businesses

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Buy pottery to help peace

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Compassionate policy needed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Too little parking causes a mess

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

.

Sports

Aggie men suffer first league loss

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Aggie gymnasts enter Hornets Nest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Cycling shrine shifts gears in face of challenges

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

UCD’s Wade wins weekly tennis award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Guitar-vocal duo will perform at DCC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
‘Inherent Vice': A very bad trip

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Toyota’s lowest-priced car gets spruced up

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Car Care: Tips to make the daily drive easier for commuters

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Obituaries

Virginia Carolyn Keith Crowell

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Friday, January 23, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8