Can an employer prohibit employees from wearing religious garb such as a burqa or hijab?

Minneapolis employment law attorney Marnie DeWall explains that an employer typically can not prevent an employee from wearing religious clothing.

Contact Marnie DeWall

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (612) 371-2401


The answer is it depends, which is often the answer in many legal cases but particularly the employment arena. An employer does have a duty to make religious accommodations for employees upon request unless such an accommodation poses an undue hardship to the employer. In the case of hijab or a burka, generally the employer will likely have to accommodate unless that is going to usually for those particular pieces cause a safety concern. If we’re, for example, in a retail environment an employer probably will have to allow an employee to wear a religious piece of clothing or a religious item. Correspondingly, if you’re in a manufacturing type of environment where there might be safety concerns with perhaps the material getting caught that would be a case that could potentially be construed as an undue hardship to the employer.