Expanding the Obligation to Accommodate Public Employee Religious Free Expression and its Effects on Bureaucratic Accountability




Szymalak, James

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This study explores the proper limits of workplace religious accommodation within public administration by examining the predicted outcomes of proposed legislation that would permit employees to refuse to perform their assigned duties based upon religious objections. A test suite of crucial cases is developed to predict outcomes under both the existing religious accommodation framework, and the proposed expanded obligation. The study concludes that an expanded accommodation obligation would likely result in the infliction of dignitary harm upon certain government service beneficiaries, and such harm potentially impairs administrative legitimacy. It also reveals significant constitutional issues with an expanded obligation, as well as challenges to implementation and adjudication. The project integrates the public policy, public law, and public administration subfields.



Public policy, Public administration, Accommodation, Dignitary, Legitimacy, Religious, Title VII