Community//

Religion in the Workplace

Why is religion important to consider in the workplace?

As the population of the
planet increases seemingly exponentially, we are experiencing more
and more diversity in countries all over the world. However, this is
causing many people, and groups of people, to fear the
ever-increasing threat of xenophobia, especially when it comes to
workplace environments.

In fact, this is a
problem that is rapidly becoming a central focus across the world,
even on media publications, for instance, with the upcoming Brexit
process in the UK. With so much tension, what can we expect, what’s
being done and what direction is this situation going to take?

Let’s find out.

The Ideal Work
Environment

In the perfect world,
diversity would be a benefit to your work environment. Employers
would be free to employ anyone they chose, from any country or ethnic
background without issue. Employees would be able to work side by
side without conflicts based on religious beliefs.

This means everybody
would be able to go into their workplace to get their work done,
believing whatever they want, and it won’t cause a problem.
However, in reality, this isn’t always the case. Friction can be
easily created when two belief systems arise.

This is typically the
case because there is not just a difference in what the other
believes in. In addition to faith, there are many aspects to
consider. These can include the type of dress an individual wears,
other ways in which they treat their appearance, dietary choices,
fasting routines, how they use language and even holiday periods.

In short, there are more
than enough ways for people to become discriminated against, harassed
and even bullied in the workplace.

The Problem of the
Conflict & the Law

Regardless of the reality
of the workplace, there are several measures in place when it comes
to how the law views this growing concern. Many private sector
practices are governed by federal civil rights law and state
regulations to help deter and minimize these issues.

For example, in the US,
the foundation of this branch of law is Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964. Within this act, there are many statements and clauses
that are based on several variables such as color, race, national
origin, gender and religion.

“I
have experienced cases of hostile workplaces throughout my career,”
shares Daniel Ware, a Recruiting manager at Origin
Writings
. “There are many fine lines when it
comes to religious beliefs in the workplace. Even when things start
off harmless, ignorance can be a huge determining factor.”

From these core
considerations, there are many recognized practices and instances
that the courts have deemed discrimination and are punishable by law.
These rulings cover all aspects of the workplace, including the
impact of behavior, hostile situations and disparate individual
treatment.

A Brief Guide to
Disparate Treatment Discrimination

Disparate treatment is
the term given to a situation where an employer discriminates an
employee throughout the recruitment process. This includes both
hiring and firing. This is typically the case where the employer will
refuse to employ an individual based on their religious beliefs.

However, exceptions have
been made where businesses, organisations and purposes are religious
in nature and can be allowed if the groups approach the groups and
have the required level of proof to see whether the exception is
legitimate.

True Equality

However, these situations
work both ways. “Where there is opportunity, there are people
waiting to take advantage. There are times where an employee can take
things too far, and the entire situation becomes too burdensome for
the employer to handle, typically unfairly. These are typically
referred to as reasonable or unreasonable requests”, – explains
Jaime Bevers, a Human Resources manager at Writemyx
and 1Day2Write.

For example, if an
employee requested that they needed a Saturday shift swapped with
somebody else due to a religious holiday, this would be deemed a
reasonable work request. On the other hand, if an employee was
requesting a month off, this will be decided on an individual
circumstance.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.