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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Public Library Prohibits Employees from wearing Religious Jewelry

Professor Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy, one of the best blogs on the Internet in my opinion, discussed the Logan County Public Library in Kentucky, which prevented employees from from wearing "clothing depicting religious, political, or potentially offensive decoration" and expanded this policy to include "religious ornaments."

The library's justification is as follows: "[T]he policy is necessary to protect librarian impartiality on issues that could be the subject of patron inquiry...." In particular, "the policy is required to avoid the appearance of religious favoritism and to avoid violating the state's duties under the Establishment Clause."

As Professor Volokh notes, "if you take the librarian impartiality argument seriously, you'd have to refuse to hire anyone who even dresses or wears his or her hair in religiously distinctive ways; no orthodox Jewish men with yarmulkes, no Sikhs wearing turbans, no Muslim women wearing distinctively Muslim garb."

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