Excuse nonbelievers from at-work prayer; high court ruling isn't an OK to mandate it.

Amid its big abortion and gun decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court also issued a less-noticed ruling that said a high school football coach can kneel in prayer with his team at the 50-yard line after games. The ruling said the First Amendment doesn't allow the government to suppress such religious expression. (Kennedy v. Bremerton School District)

But the critical point is that this case involved a government employer. Government employees enjoy greater First Amendment protections at work. Employees in private-sector workplaces don't have such First Amendment rights.

The result: While private companies can offer prayer at work and incorporate it into the workday, they cannot require prayer sessions--or punish workers for not participating in them. That's because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it unlawful to discriminate or retaliate against workers based on religion.

Title VII also says private employers need to accommodate an employee's request to pray during the workday, as long as doing so wouldn't impose an undue...

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