Joanna MoranFollow

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School of Communication


Communication Studies: Speech Communication


First Amendment, Freedom of Religion, Workplace




The First Amendment specifically protects the freedom of religion, an idea that has been championed in America for over two centuries. In the workplace, religious freedom is more limited. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. United Health Programs of American Inc. and Cost Containment Group Inc. (2016) serves as an example of how some religious expression must be limited in order to protect religious freedoms of the majority in the workplace. The purpose of this thesis is to determine how First Amendment religious freedoms are being protected and restricted in the workplace. This research is relevant to working Americans, as the current protections and restrictions on religious freedom in the workplace must be understood in order for such expression in the workplace to continue appropriately. To do this, major court cases such as Sherbert v. Verner (1963), Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith (1990), and Fraternal Order of Police Newark Lodge No. 12 v. City of Newark (1999) are examined. Additionally, current attitudes, acts, and Constitutional amendments pertaining to the issue are reviewed. From the gathering of this information, conclusions about the protection and limitation of religious expression in the workplace are drawn.

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