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Employment Law/Religion & Music in Workplace


I own a very small manufacturing business, we are an S Corp, privately owned, 3 employees. Historically as the job is mundane and repetitive I allow a raido station/music to be played over a speaker. I also allow headphones in a low risk production area. One employee recently approached me asking to wear headphones in all production areas to listen to religious music. I said no, only in the low risk area is it permitted. The employee said the radio music was against his religion and did not want to hear it which is the reason he asked for headphones at all times. I again said no as the liability is too high and reminded the employee that listening to music is a privledge I allow, not a right as he kept presisting. I asked the employee if there was a radio station that he did not find offensive everyone could listen to, he said no. So, I had all the music shut off except for when the religious employee is with his headphones in the low risk area which only happens once a week. I feel the other employees are being punished for the religous employees beliefs, the job is boring and productivity is better with music. However, I cant allow headphones in high risk manufacturing areas. I want to know if I am within my rights to allow the radio (non religious stations) to be played regardless of the employees vocalization about finding the radio offensive.

Hello Katrina,

This is an issue that is beyond the scope of my knowledge. A consultation with a qualified employment attorney is the proper course of action.

Remember my response is intended to be educational and informational purposes only. I'm not an attorney nor is this response legal advice. Please review my specific disclaimer;


Yancey Thomas Jr, Employee Rights Mediator,
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Yancey Thomas Jr


General employee rights relating to ADAAA,FMLA,Employee Performance Reviews,Sexual Harassment,Workplace Discrimination,Job Interviews,Workplace Violence,Workplace Privacy,wrongful termination,drug tests Non Answers COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act),USERRA,OSHA,Workers' Compensation,Federal Unemployment Tax Act,Equal Pay Act,The Wagner Act,EEOC,NLRB


16 years as an employee rights educator, coach, trainer, activist and advocate. Several of my websites and blogs,, and rank highly in all four major search engines, Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask for the keyword “basic employee rights”, “employee workplace rights” and “employee rights guide”. The websites also rank on the first page of the search engines for various other keywords related employee rights topics. These unique site receive 20,000+ unique (new) visitors monthly from all over the world.

Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 trained in mediator/neutral specializing in conflict resolution of general civil, business and employment issues. Also certified in mediation including the Alliance for education in dispute resolution and Cornell University.

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