The Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA) is again being proposed in the United States Congress and a similar bill is being heard at the state legislature in Oregon.    This bill is important to religious people who are currently being forced to choose between their faith and their jobs.  Thanks to John Bechtel  for forwarding this most recent article.  Editor

EXCERPT:

Complaints of religious discrimination in the workplace are on the rise, but civil rights advocates say that may not be such a bad thing.

That's because a likely reason for a steady rise in reported incidents has nothing to do with intolerant corporate cultures but rather religious minorities who are more aware of their rights and more willing to exercise them.

"Before, somebody might have prayed kind of quietly at work and hoped nobody would stop them and didn't really want to ask permission," says Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "Now they state openly: `Yes, I'd like permission. Is there an open room where I could pray?"'

Between 1992 and 2007, claims of religious discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission more than doubled, from 1,388 to 2,880. Among the contributing factors: a growing U.S. population and tensions precipitated by an increasingly diverse workforce.

But recent years have also ushered in a new era of assertiveness, especially among members of minority faiths that require specific codes of dress, diet or behavior, according to David Miller, director of Princeton University's Faith & Work Initiative.

"They're not the kind of complaints you would have seen 10 or 15 years ago," Miller says.  

Read the full article at http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2009/01/workplace-discrimination-claim.php

 
 

34 Comments

  1. Brandon says:

    While I am not against religious freedom in the workplace, I do oppose any effort to mandate practices that may be disruptive to business operations. Just like a house of worship is from prayer, a business is a place where work gets done. Any employee should recognize that when you are at work, your time belongs to your employer. In some cases a balance can be struck such as being allowed to use vacation time or unpaid time to attend special services, etc. Also, most employers would be willing to make special accommodations to meet religious needs as long as its pre-planned, does not disrupt the business, and does not infringe on the rights of any other person.

  2. Brandon says:

    While I am not against religious freedom in the workplace, I do oppose any effort to mandate practices that may be disruptive to business operations. Just like a house of worship is from prayer, a business is a place where work gets done. Any employee should recognize that when you are at work, your time belongs to your employer. In some cases a balance can be struck such as being allowed to use vacation time or unpaid time to attend special services, etc. Also, most employers would be willing to make special accommodations to meet religious needs as long as its pre-planned, does not disrupt the business, and does not infringe on the rights of any other person.

  3. Scott says:

    As a non-Christian in the USA, I totally "get" what this article is saying. I have been preached to by Christians and even told I am going to go to hell, all at my place of employment. I have been harassed for being openly non-Christian and also have to sit through Secret Santa and Christmas parties every year. I watch while the Christians get Christmas off with pay while I have to use my vacation time to take off my own holidays. I believe that businesses should either recognize ALL religions equally or NONE at all.

  4. Scott says:

    As a non-Christian in the USA, I totally "get" what this article is saying. I have been preached to by Christians and even told I am going to go to hell, all at my place of employment. I have been harassed for being openly non-Christian and also have to sit through Secret Santa and Christmas parties every year. I watch while the Christians get Christmas off with pay while I have to use my vacation time to take off my own holidays. I believe that businesses should either recognize ALL religions equally or NONE at all.

  5. Jessica says:

    I think it is important for people to be able to express themselves and their religion in a safe protected environment. If rights are really being restricted I think it's good that people are taking their cases to the EEOC. However, I also agree that work is a place seperate from a religious institution and when at work that should be the main focus of your day.

  6. Jessica says:

    I think it is important for people to be able to express themselves and their religion in a safe protected environment. If rights are really being restricted I think it's good that people are taking their cases to the EEOC. However, I also agree that work is a place seperate from a religious institution and when at work that should be the main focus of your day.

  7. Cynthia says:

    America has always liked to claim that all religions are treated equally, but the reality is that this is not the case. Anyone who was raised in a non-Christian faith has a clear recollection of many awkward school days spent celebrating holidays that were not their own and reciting a pledge that references another person's God. It is nice to see the collective voice of religious minorities taking a stand against the double standards that occur in so many businesses. After all, if one employee can have a "What Would Jesus Do" sign in her office, her coworker ought to be able to feel free to reference his religion without the fear of harassment.

  8. Cynthia says:

    America has always liked to claim that all religions are treated equally, but the reality is that this is not the case. Anyone who was raised in a non-Christian faith has a clear recollection of many awkward school days spent celebrating holidays that were not their own and reciting a pledge that references another person's God. It is nice to see the collective voice of religious minorities taking a stand against the double standards that occur in so many businesses. After all, if one employee can have a "What Would Jesus Do" sign in her office, her coworker ought to be able to feel free to reference his religion without the fear of harassment.

  9. Suzee says:

    Amen. I agree that the workplace should be a neutral place where business is being transacted. Recognizing every religion is impossible and to just observe Christian holidays is not fair to the mounting numbers of those who don't belong to a Christian sect. With jobs being eliminated by the thousands each day, there are likely to be a number of claims of religious discrimination that is being shielded by the bad economy. It would be very easy for a small business owner to get rid of those whose religion he/she did not agree with. These are tough times and this is when we need religion most. I predict a lot of interesting discussion in the next several months.

  10. Suzee says:

    Amen. I agree that the workplace should be a neutral place where business is being transacted. Recognizing every religion is impossible and to just observe Christian holidays is not fair to the mounting numbers of those who don't belong to a Christian sect. With jobs being eliminated by the thousands each day, there are likely to be a number of claims of religious discrimination that is being shielded by the bad economy. It would be very easy for a small business owner to get rid of those whose religion he/she did not agree with. These are tough times and this is when we need religion most. I predict a lot of interesting discussion in the next several months.

  11. bobbie says:

    Yes I believe that the workplace should be a neutral place to work at but also if you need time to pray, you should have it to. How this would work out I don't know? Some jobs welcome this some think of it as a distraction. That's why I say my prayers at home.

  12. bobbie says:

    Yes I believe that the workplace should be a neutral place to work at but also if you need time to pray, you should have it to. How this would work out I don't know? Some jobs welcome this some think of it as a distraction. That's why I say my prayers at home.

  13. Sam says:

    I think that people should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't interfere with others. So, if they want to pray at work, then go ahead as long as it does not become an official work activity or something like that.

  14. Sam says:

    I think that people should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't interfere with others. So, if they want to pray at work, then go ahead as long as it does not become an official work activity or something like that.

  15. Ragul says:

    I agree that the workplace should be a neutral place where business is being transacted.It is nice to see the collective voice of religious minorities taking a stand against the double standards that occur in so many businesses.

  16. Ragul says:

    I agree that the workplace should be a neutral place where business is being transacted.It is nice to see the collective voice of religious minorities taking a stand against the double standards that occur in so many businesses.

  17. AMY ADRIANCE says:

    I realy loved your web site and your article about work place disrimination and the information about the Workplace Religous Freedom Act trying to get passed by congress.I feel everybody should be able to pray and practice thier religon no mattter where they are at the time.No one should ever looose thier job due to thier religous beliefs.It is about time people started respecting each others different religous views and stop discriminating against other.The only one that should judge us is the god or gods that we believe in.I will pray that laws get passed to stop work place discrimination and everyone is aloud to worship in peace.Thank you for all the great information.Good Luck and i hope your god bless you.

  18. AMY ADRIANCE says:

    I realy loved your web site and your article about work place disrimination and the information about the Workplace Religous Freedom Act trying to get passed by congress.I feel everybody should be able to pray and practice thier religon no mattter where they are at the time.No one should ever looose thier job due to thier religous beliefs.It is about time people started respecting each others different religous views and stop discriminating against other.The only one that should judge us is the god or gods that we believe in.I will pray that laws get passed to stop work place discrimination and everyone is aloud to worship in peace.Thank you for all the great information.Good Luck and i hope your god bless you.

  19. Proba says:

    Although I'm not against religious freedom I don't support it on the workplace. It's wrong if someone can't get a job just because of religious differences, but also it's not good to to express the religion at the job. Especially in multi-religious environment where that sometimes may reach it's extreme limits.
    Job is a job for me, and this is not the place where you will express your religion.

  20. Proba says:

    Although I'm not against religious freedom I don't support it on the workplace. It's wrong if someone can't get a job just because of religious differences, but also it's not good to to express the religion at the job. Especially in multi-religious environment where that sometimes may reach it's extreme limits.
    Job is a job for me, and this is not the place where you will express your religion.

  21. Tia says:

    This is a tricky one. There are jobs that require uniforms be worn, & some (like military uniforms) can't really be changed much from regulation. Others, like a store clerk uniform, can be altered quite a bit with your supervisor's permission. In some professions there are safety regulations; you can't really wear a Sikh turban if you're a construction worker, but you might be able to if you're a painter. You may be able to wear a short beard when welding, but perhaps not a very long beard. In regards to praying, at my former workplace a couple of guys would do that when they were on breaks, or if we were busy they'd take a few moments in between files. I don't remember them ever asking for permission, or anyone ever thinking that they needed to.

  22. Tia says:

    This is a tricky one. There are jobs that require uniforms be worn, & some (like military uniforms) can't really be changed much from regulation. Others, like a store clerk uniform, can be altered quite a bit with your supervisor's permission. In some professions there are safety regulations; you can't really wear a Sikh turban if you're a construction worker, but you might be able to if you're a painter. You may be able to wear a short beard when welding, but perhaps not a very long beard. In regards to praying, at my former workplace a couple of guys would do that when they were on breaks, or if we were busy they'd take a few moments in between files. I don't remember them ever asking for permission, or anyone ever thinking that they needed to.

  23. asoka says:

    I support for religious tolerance at workplace.However workplace should only be a place where is Business is done.It is nice to see the collective voice of religious minorities taking a stand against the double standards that occur in so many businesses.

  24. asoka says:

    I support for religious tolerance at workplace.However workplace should only be a place where is Business is done.It is nice to see the collective voice of religious minorities taking a stand against the double standards that occur in so many businesses.

  25. WickedZen says:

    Freedom of religion is a very important. To be free to believe what we believe without discrimination. As long as it is not interfering with the work the individual is being paid to do, and not disruptive to others, then everyone should have that freedom.

  26. WickedZen says:

    Freedom of religion is a very important. To be free to believe what we believe without discrimination. As long as it is not interfering with the work the individual is being paid to do, and not disruptive to others, then everyone should have that freedom.

  27. Angela says:

    I also agree that religion needs to be left out of the workplace. While I am sympathetic to the fact that certain religions require prayer times at certain times of the day, that can interrupt the work flow, which is the primary importance. Objecting to this would not be discrimination, but merely good business practice.

  28. Angela says:

    I also agree that religion needs to be left out of the workplace. While I am sympathetic to the fact that certain religions require prayer times at certain times of the day, that can interrupt the work flow, which is the primary importance. Objecting to this would not be discrimination, but merely good business practice.

  29. Nout says:

    "Yes, Id like permission. Is there an open room where I could pray"

    I'm not sure about this. Yes, we do need to be more accepting of other people's religious views, but activities like praying while you are supposed to be working are just not acceptable. For example, if I change my religion to one which forbids working on Wednesdays would it be discriminatory when I get fired. I think not.

  30. Nout says:

    "Yes, Id like permission. Is there an open room where I could pray"

    I'm not sure about this. Yes, we do need to be more accepting of other people's religious views, but activities like praying while you are supposed to be working are just not acceptable. For example, if I change my religion to one which forbids working on Wednesdays would it be discriminatory when I get fired. I think not.

  31. Terri says:

    I believe it is a positive thing that employees (and people in general) are feeling more comfortable about their personal beliefs. Acceptance of others is unfortunately not something that comes easily to many people and this is often because we tend to fear those things that we don't understand. Being exposed to other beliefs inevitably leads to more understanding once we get past the stage of fear. That's not to say that any person should be forced to be participate in the practices involved, of course, but exposure to "differences" is not really an option so tolerance is a necessity. As exposure grows, fear feeds away.

  32. Terri says:

    I believe it is a positive thing that employees (and people in general) are feeling more comfortable about their personal beliefs. Acceptance of others is unfortunately not something that comes easily to many people and this is often because we tend to fear those things that we don't understand. Being exposed to other beliefs inevitably leads to more understanding once we get past the stage of fear. That's not to say that any person should be forced to be participate in the practices involved, of course, but exposure to "differences" is not really an option so tolerance is a necessity. As exposure grows, fear feeds away.

  33. Jenna says:

    I think everyone should have the right to practice there own religion on there own time. The work place should stay a work place if you want to pray do it during your breaks not during paying hours and without disturbing other employees and or guests. What gives the right for one person to have special time during the day to pray and not others especially if it's on the clock or an extra break time? Your job is paying your bills if you think your religion is paying your bills go for it.

  34. Jenna says:

    I think everyone should have the right to practice there own religion on there own time. The work place should stay a work place if you want to pray do it during your breaks not during paying hours and without disturbing other employees and or guests. What gives the right for one person to have special time during the day to pray and not others especially if it's on the clock or an extra break time? Your job is paying your bills if you think your religion is paying your bills go for it.

 
 
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