Religion and Spirituality in the Workplace
Today there are over 900 religious employee resource groups, according to the International Coalition of Workplace Ministries (Cañas & Sondak, 2010). These affinity groups can help encourage religious understanding by offering panel discussions that educate employees on their beliefs. By allowing open discussion, answering religious questions and creating an open, welcoming religious environment in the workplace employees can better relate to one another through shared religious principles (Cañas & Sondak, 2010). When looking at the business case for diversity, not asking employees to hide their faith at work allows for greater productivity, and ...view middle of the document...
Because Sonia’s attire does not impose undue hardship on the organization’s legitimate business interests, there is no reason not to allow Sonia’s attire in the work place. In order to prove undue hardship an employer must be able to prove that any accommodation would require more than ordinary business costs, diminish efficiency in other jobs, impair workplace safety, infringe on the rights and benefits of other employees, cause other coworkers to carry the burden of the accommodated employee’s hazardous or burdensome work, or conflict with other laws or regulations (Gross, 2012, para 10).
Because Sonia’s co-workers are gossiping and raising concern, and as a consequence Sonia’s work performance is falling, management needs to personally address Sonia and discuss the comments that are being made. Another steps that management should take in this situation is to encourage a culture that is more accepting and understanding of religious diversity. It seems as if the culture of this organization does not understand the importance of recognizing and accepting religious diversity and management could address this through the creation of religious affinity groups. This would offer an effective strategy to help employees better understand the existence of religious diversity and the importance of respecting one another’s beliefs.
In this situation Sonia herself should not allow her co-workers comments to affect her performance on the job. Sonia should ask to meet with her manager and discuss the negative sentiments she is receiving from her coworkers. She should discuss her religious beliefs and explain how her faith allows her to find meaning and purpose in her work. She should express to her leadership that her co-workers comments make her feel unwelcome and the possibility of a hostile work environment existing if the situation is not addressed. Sonia’s co-workers on the other hand need to be mindful of their comments and the effect it has on Sonia. While their offhand comments and teasing nature may not constitute religious discrimination and harassment, harassment in any form is considered illegal if it become so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2012). Sonia’s co-workers need to address the situation with Sonia from the approach of religious acceptance. If co-workers have legitimate concerns over Sonia’s attire affecting client relationships they need to speak with their manager, or even Sonia’s herself, to address these concerns directly.
Religious Acceptance and Flexible Scheduling
In scenario four a newly transferred employee, Jenny, with a background as an all-star softball pitcher declines to join the department’s coed softball team. This decision results in Jenny being tagged as “not a team player” throughout her office. Because the softball games are played on Sunday mornings and afternoon, Jenny’s behavior is most likely due to the...