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Employment Law Attorney Scott Mirsky Quoted in Press Coverage of Religious Exception to Workplace Dress Policy Lawsuit

Posted May 21, 2024 at 7:40 AM

Miller, Miller & Canby’s Scott Mirsky provided insight for a recently-published Law360 article, “Dos and Don’ts For Accommodating Religious Dress At Work.”  The article focused on a recent U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against a Texas state agency that punished a clerical worker for violating the agency’s dress code. The DOJ action against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice alleges the individual was placed on indefinite unpaid leave “because of her practice of wearing a head covering in accord with her sincerely held religious belief as a participant of the Ifa faith.” While the case is pending, the article examined legal precedent and shared insights from Mirsky and other employment law attorneys.  

“Every employer should have a dress code policy.  The policy should be clear that if someone has a sincerely-held religious belief, they can request a reasonable accommodation,” Mirsky said. “The employer must alert employees that this avenue is available to them.” Mirsky explained that established dress code rules need to be made clear to employees, and a formal process by which requests for accommodations are evaluated should be in place and clearly communicated.

Mirsky added that he advises employers to proceed as if a employee’s stated belief system is sincerely held and that their request is being made in good faith. The article stressed the importance of treating religious practices objectively; EEOC guidance stipulates that the definition of religion for purposes of anti-discrimination law is broad, covering beliefs and practices that may not be familiar to employers.

The absence of sound policies for accommodating religious dress, and the failure to adequately train management to navigate these policies are two of the greatest pitfalls that put employers at legal risk.  

Read the full Law360 article here (requires subscription).

Scott Mirsky is a Principal in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Employment Law and Employment Litigation practice, with more than 20 years of experience representing individuals and businesses in diverse civil matters throughout the Washington, DC region.  He has experience handling non-compete and trade secret disagreements, employment claims, issues concerning independent contractors, complex construction issues, wage and overtime disputes under the FLSA and state law, and breach of contract claims. To learn more about his practice, contact Scott at