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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, three times a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Nov 17, 2017

One cook at a Walt Disney resort was fired because he wouldn’t cut off his dreadlocks — a key component of his religious expression as a Rastafarian. Listen at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


America is home to a great diversity of cultural and religious backgrounds. Our commitment to religious liberty protects them all.

The federal government recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of a cook employed at a Walt Disney resort. The cook was fired because he would not conform to Disney’s appearance standards because doing so would require him to violate his religious beliefs.

The cook is a Rastafarian, a religious movement that began in the 1920’s and brought to prominence by singer Bob Marley. Rastafarians wear their hair in the style of dreadlocks; however, Disney doesn’t allow dreadlocks to be worn by cooks—even if those cooks keep their locks under cover while at work.

The same law that protects a Rastafarian from unfair treatment by his employer protects the rights of Jewish men to wear their beards long and Mennonite women to wear their head covering at work. As Justice Scalia explained in the case of EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch: “Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964] does not demand mere neutrality with regard to religious practices…. Rather, it gives [religious employees] favored treatment…Title VII requires otherwise-neutral policies to give way to the need for an accommodation.”

In other words, Religious liberty seeks to respect legitimate business concerns and functions, so long as those goals accommodate a mutual respect for the free exercise of religion.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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