Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2011


Great Plains Research 21 (Spring 2011):3-15


© 2011 Copyright by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


This article considers whether state constitutionalism provides greater possibilities for workplace religious accommodation than is currently available to religious minorities within federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We approach this question via a case study of the controversy over religious accommodation for practicing Muslims employed by the JBS Swift and Company meatpacking plant in Grand Island, N E. The case study consists of analyses of the requirements for religious accommodation under federal law, examination of the reasons why religious accommodation under federal law was not achieved in the Grand Island case, and analysis of Nebraska constitutional law on the subject of religious free exercise. We find that the language in the Nebraska Constitution regarding protection of religious practice provides grounds for Muslims and other religious minorities in Nebraska to seek religious accommodations in the workplace through state government venues that they have been unable to achieve under federal law.