In my original post in the Disinviting Islam series I pointed out examples of outrageous Muslim demands for special accommodation by employers and by those serving the public.
One of the purposes of some of Jeff's policy suggestions (though not the only purpose) was to make it clear that such accommodations do not have to be made.
A different route to that particular goal would be this: Since enforcement bodies such as the EEOC and various civil rights commissions have wide latitude to decide what constitutes "reasonable accommodation," a determined administration at the federal level could make a large difference to such accommodations, especially if the federal move encouraged copy-cat moves at the level of state bureaucracies.
I herewith present a suggested informational open letter to be written by the head or heads of enforcement agencies for non-discrimination laws. See what you think of it:
The laws that my agency is tasked with enforcing require that "reasonable" accommodation be made for the religious requests of employees and of customers. Unfortunately, over the years a number of demands have been made and acceded to by employers and by those serving the public under the impression that my office would require these as reasonable demands or out of fear of harassing lawsuits if these demands were not met.
It is not the intention of this agency to impose an undue burden upon employers and those serving the public in this way. In the interests of clarity, therefore, let it be understood that my agency considers the following to be unreasonable requests and will refuse to pursue any complaint brought on the basis of a failure to accede to these requests:
--Employees do not need to be released for prayer at the same time every day. This is an undue burden on the employer, particularly when there are many employees of the same faith demanding release time for prayer at the same time.
--Employees need not be given a special dispensation permitting them not to handle food items on the grounds that such items are "unclean" in their religion.
--Any employee who wears a head scarf or other unusual religious clothing item that raises concerns about public health or safety may reasonably be required not to wear that particular clothing item. The same point applies to customers in physical contexts such as roller skating rinks.
--Employees in medical contexts may be required to wear clothing that leaves their arms bare to above the elbows for reasons of public health.
--Customers who desire to pray while using a facility that serves the public may reasonably be asked to do so in a fashion that does not inconvenience other customers by loudness or by blocking normal traffic flow within the business. Businesses that serve the public are not required by non-discrimination law to install special equipment or to set aside special spaces within the business for customer prayer.
--Employers are not required to install special equipment or to set aside special spaces for employee prayer or religious ritual washing.
--Hostile work environment provisions will not be interpreted by this agency to rule out discussion of religious differences nor to rule out display of items, holidays, etc., that reflect the employer's own religious beliefs.
--This agency will not accept complaints against municipalities that refuse to grant easements of noise ordinances for daily calls to prayer broadcast over a loudspeaker system. [I don't actually know if a federal agency would normally handle such a complaint but thought I would put this in here in case that would be the route by which such a complaint would be handled.]
--Schools are not required by non-discrimination law to provide special, religiously sanctioned food for students.
--Jurisdictions that require the face to be uncovered for the use of public transportation are not required by the laws my agency administers to grant religious exceptions to such ordinances and laws.
The above are only examples. This agency reserves the right to make case-by-case decisions and issues these examples for purposes of guidance.
Now, it will no doubt be observed that many of the examples that our hypothetical bureaucrat gives concern Islam, though there is no reference to Islam in the open letter. No doubt Muslims will fuss loudly about the fact that they are "disproportionately" affected. But that is the case only because they are disproportionately making unreasonable demands.
Many of these should be no-brainers.
For an administration deliberately to appoint bureaucrats who would make such a statement would send a strong message to Muslims, and it would do so without the need to pass any new laws.
Non-hostile readers, what do you think? (I haven't really any interest in the opinions of hostile readers, and "Nazi" insults will be deleted with prejudice.)