The Conference Board Review
"Religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit protection"
What happens when an employee's freedom of religion crosses paths with a company's interests? Expression of religion in the workplace often challenges businesses to find appropriate solutions to employees' requests.
" 'Obviously, you can't fire someone just because her faith differs from yours,' writes associate editor Vadim Liberman. 'But what happens when you face situations that aren't so black and white -- when the beliefs and practices of customers and co-workers come into play, not to mention the intricacies of employment law?'
As religion increasingly collides with corporate policies and practices, companies are asking what is and isn't permissible behavior -- for workers and for themselves.
"Last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 2,541 claims of religious discrimination in the workplace -- almost 50 percent more than a decade ago. 66 percent of employees report 'evidence of religious bias at work.'
"So what's a company to do when it finds itself in a thorny predicament?
"...What if ... you run a tech-support company, and a technician refuses to provide help to a client that manufactures violent computer-software games? A devout Christian, she claims that servicing the customer would violate her faith. You explain that no other accounts have available openings, but she still objects.
"...What if ... you have a contract agreement with a union that stipulates that all your workers must become members of the union, but one recently hired employee refuses to join? He says doing so would violate his religious beliefs.
"What if ... a group of Christian employees objects to your company's portion of diversity training dealing with gays and lesbians? To protest, they silently read the Bible when homosexuality comes up during a training session.
In the end, just remember: 'religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit protection,' according to the law.
Via Terence R. Egan