Accommodating respectful religious expression in the workplace
(b) Employees are entitled to display religious messages on items of clothing to the same extent that they are permitted to display other comparable messages.
So long as they do not convey any governmental endorsement of religion, religious messages may not typically be singled out for suppression.
(Such expression by supervisors is subject to special consideration as discussed in Section B(2) of these guidelines.) Examples (a) During a coffee break, one employee engages another in a polite discussion of why his faith should be embraced.
But employees must refrain from such expression when a fellow employee asks that it stop or otherwise demonstrates that it is unwelcome.
The invitee is shocked, and asks that the invitation not be repeated.
The original invitation is protected, but the employee should honor the request that no further invitations be issued.
As a general rule, agencies may not regulate employees' personal religious expression on the basis of its content or viewpoint.
In other words, agencies generally may not suppress employees' private religious speech in the workplace while leaving unregulated other private employee speech that has a comparable effect on the efficiency of the workplace -- including ideological speech on politics and other topics -- because to do so would be to engage in presumptively unlawful content or viewpoint discrimination.
The following Guidelines, addressing religious exercise and religious expression, shall apply to all civilian executive branch agencies, officials, and employees in the Federal workplace.