Published on:

Quebec provincial government seeks to forbid public employees from wearing religious headwear

The party in control of the Quebec provincial government, Parti Quebecois, is trying to pass a law which would prohibit public employees from wearing religious headwear such as hijabs, turbans, and yarmulkes. Parti Quebecois is a political party that wants Quebec to separate from Canada and become its own sovereign nation. Ironically, this new law banning religious headwear could provoke more Canadian involvement in Quebec’s affairs because the federal Canadian government may seek to block the law in court.

The Quebec Liberal Party strongly opposes the proposed law. “The big mistake that the government is making is to make people believe that, in order to defend what is specific about Quebec, we must trample on other people’s rights,” said Philippe Couillard, the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party.

In Maine, there are federal and state (MHRC Reg. 3.10(C)) laws which would prohibit any employer from instituting a blanket ban on all religious headwear. Employers must reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs of their employees. If an employee wears headwear due to a sincere religious belief, the employer must permit the employee to wear it at work unless the employer can show that permitting the employee to wear the religious headwear would cause it to suffer an “undue hardship.”