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1Zack Smith Nathan Melcher Explanatory Synthesis 2/18/08 Religious Rights in the Workplace

Religion is an important aspect o many peoples! "aily li#es$ Religions such as %slam& or example& usually re'uire its ollo(ers to pray i#e times a "ay$ Many )hristians *elie#e that physical la*or shoul" not *e per orme" on Satur"ays or Sun"ays$ Some religions e#en ha#e practices such as keeping a *ear" an" sacri icing animals$ +he ,irst -men"ment guarantees ree"om o religion an" its practices& *ut ho( ar can this go in the (orkplace. %t is not uncommon or (orkplace rules to inter ere (ith a person!s religious practices$ What say "o the employer an" the employee ha#e in these situations. %n the (orkplace& an employee may practice their religion& *ut i it causes un"ue har"ship to the company& the employer "oes not ha#e to allo( it$ - large amount o an a#erage person!s li e is spent in the (orkplace$ %n act& people spen" approximately a month more in the (orkplace e#ery year than they "i" t(enty years ago/)onlin0$ )om*ine that (ith the act that a*out 123 o -mericans *elie#e in a 4o" o some sort or another& an" it is not surprising that aith is so o ten oun" in the (orkplace/)onlin0$ ,rom the (ay they "ress to the (ay they act& employees in"ee" *ring their personal religious *elie s an" practices to (ork$ +he %)SW& the %nternational

Smith 2 )enter or Spirit at Work& is an organi5ation "e"icate" to glo*ally integrating spirituality into the (orkplace$ +hey *elie#e that the (orkplace pro#i"es a great opportunity to practice spiritual principles& allo(ing us to gro( to our ull potential& an" that organi5ations that (elcome this approach are more likely to *e e ecti#e/%)SW0$ Many *elie#e that spirituality in general impro#es the (orkplace an" increases pro"ucti#ity& *ut it is also kno(n to cause a (i"e array o pro*lems$ -s it turns out con lict is ine#ita*le (hen it comes to religion$ +here has ne#er *een complete peace an" cooperation *et(een opposing *elie s& especially in the (orkplace$ +he E'ual Employment 6pportunity )ommission reporte" a 213 increase in religion7relate" "iscrimination cases rom 1112 to 1111 as spirituality *egins to leak more into secular institution an" *usinesses/)onlin0$ 8n"er +itle 9%% o the )i#il Rights -ct o 11:;& employees are protecte" rom religious "iscrimination& also allo(ing them to practice their religion at (ork as long as it "oes not minimally *ur"en the company/)onlin0$ -ccor"ing to <e rey Stein*erger& a (riter on legal issues& i an employer in"s that an employee!s religious acti#ities hurt the company in such (ays as causing higher inancial costs& lost e iciency& or "iscrimination against other employees& the employer "oes not ha#e to accommo"ate them/Stein*erger0$ =e also suggests to employees (anting to take speci ic time o or religion to al(ays noti y their employer o their religious

Smith 3 a*sences *ecause i the employer is ne#er noti ie" that your a*sences are religion7relate"& he can terminate you regar"less/Stein*erger0$ Stein*erger like(ise (arns employers to al(ays o er options to ix pro*lems i they arise *e ore claiming they cause har"ship to the company$ +his (ay& the employee is gi#en a reasona*le solution& an" i taken to court& the employer can pro#e he o ere" accommo"ations$ +hese *its o a"#ice aren!t al(ays ollo(e" per ectly& though$ Many times& i a pro*lem arises& the employer an" the employee may *oth o er numerous (ays to accommo"ate the pro*lem$ +he employee generally has no say in these situations& an" the employer may "eci"e on (hate#er solution he sees it$ /Stein*erger0 +here are many examples o ho( an employee!s nee" or a special sche"ule or "ress ha#e cause" pro*lems at (ork$ )hristine Wilson& a 8$S$ WES+ )ommunications employee (ho (ore a pro7li e *utton that ha" a colore" picture o a etus on it& ultimately got ire" or causing "isruptions in her (orkplace/M,)0$ Wilson ma"e a personal #o( to 4o" that she (oul" not remo#e the pin until a*ortions came to a stop$ Since her co7(orkers (ere #ery upset (ith the pin or #arious reasons& Wilson!s employers trie" to accommo"ate her *y proposing that she co#er it up (hen she le t her cu*icle$ She "i" not like the o ere" solution an" o ere" to mo#e to the other si"e o the o ice$ 8$S$ WES+ re use" Wilson!s solution$ E#entually the court rule" that since the accommo"ation o ere" to her *y her employers (oul" ha#e allo(e" her to keep her #o( to 4o"& an" sol#e the pro*lem o

Smith 4 "isruption in the o ice& she ha" no case& an" (as conse'uently ire"/M),0$ %n early 200> the Workplace Religious ,ree"om -ct (as intro"uce" in Minnesota!s )ongress "ue to some recent religious "iscrimination clashes$ ?ayla -*ukar& a Muslim cashier at +arget& re use" to ring up pork& (hile some Muslim ca*"ri#ers re use" to transport people carrying -lcohol/-ynte0$ +hese an" other similar con licts ga#e rise to the *ill$ +he *ill mainly (as propose" to reinstate an" strengthen +itle 9%% o the )i#il Rights -ct o 11:;& gi#ing employees e#en more protection/-ynte0$ +his *ill aile"& like the many pre#ious attempts to pass it$ )learly& there is much "ispute on the issue o religion an" the (orkplace$ -nother example o ho( religion can cause con lict on the (orkplace has to "o (ith the career o la( en orcement$ Richar" Schott& a @ournalist& explains that la( en orcement personnel generally al(ays ha#e to (ear their uni orms an" conce"e to certain stan"ar"s an" regulation that they may not al(ays agree (ith$ +hey also may not agree to the la(s that they #o( to uphol"$ ?a( en orcement is a @o* that is "one 2; hours a "ay& all year long$ +hese @o* speci ics make it almost a certainty that something (ill e#entually con lict (ith an employee!s religious *elie s$ Schott *rings up examples such as (hen employees (ho #iolate a *an on lapel pins (hen they eel it is their responsi*ility to (ear a )hristian cross& or (hen an o icer re uses to assign other o icers to maintain the peace at an a*ortion clinic (hen a*ortion is in contra"iction (ith his aith$ 6*#iously it is har" to tell (ho is in the right in

Smith 5 these an" many other situations$ Sol#ing religious cases in the (orkplace is ar rom an exact science$ +he ,irst -men"ment grants citi5ens ree"om o religion an" the )i#il Rights -ct o 11:; grants e#eryone that same ree"om in the (orkplace pro#i"e" it "oesn!t cause Aun"ue har"ship! to the company$ % it "oes cause har"ship& an" the employer an" employee can!t in" an accommo"ating solution& the employer no longer nee"s to regar" the (orker!s religion& an" has the right to ire the employee$ ,urther& i a case is "ragge" to court& a (orker nee"s to pro#e his religious practices "i" not cause un"ue har"ship& (hile an employer nee"s to pro#e it "i" an" that he/she trie" an" coul" not accommo"ate it$ ,or example& in the case (ith )hristine Wilson an" her pro7li e *utton& her pin in act "i" cause "isruptions (hich she coul" not "ispro#e& an" her employer o ere" accommo"ations she (oul"n!t accept& so she conse'uently lost the case$ Religion in the (orkplace can *ring unity an" pro"ucti#ity& *ut tensions are all too common$ Bro*lems are *est "ealt (ith (hen employers an" employees are honest an" up ront a*out religious issues$ +his is commonly orgotten& though& an" the *attle *et(een religion an" the (orkplace goes on$

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Works Cited Aynte, Abdi. Workplace Religio ! "reedom Act #ntrod ced in $ongre!!.% &3 April 2''() 11 "eb. 2''* http+,,---.minne!,! 1ro-n, Allan. %Religion in the Workplace.% 2he SideRoad. 11 "eb. 2''* http+,,---.!,3egal4Ad5ice,religion6in6the6-orkplace.html $onlin, 7ichelle. Religion in the Workplace.% 1 !ine!!Week. &1 8o5. 1999). 11 "eb. 2''* http+,,---.b !ine!!,1999,99444,b3653''1.htm $o ncil on American6#!lamic Relation!. An :mployer;! < ide to #!lamic Religio ! =ractice!. Wa!hington, ..$. + $o ncil on American6#!lamic Relation!, c199(. >an!en, 1. &2''2, A g !t 23). Religion in the -orkplace. CQ Researcher, 12, 64966(2. Retrie5ed "eb. 11, 2''*, ?rom $@ Re!earcher Anline, http+,,library.cBpre!!.com,cBre!earcher,cBre!rre2''2'*23''. >ick!, .o gla! A. Religion and the Workplace+ =l rali!m, Spirit ality, 3eader!hip. 8e- Cork + $ambridge Dni5er!ity =re!!, 2''3. Eo!eph F >erG?eld 33=. :mployment 3a-+ Religion in the Workplace.% &2''3) 11 "eb. 2''* http+,,,Article!,Article!25.php 7inne!ota "amily $o ncil. Religion in the Workplace.% &Sept. 2''1) 11 "eb. 2''* ---.m? Schott, Richard. Religion in the p blic -orkplace+ reg lation and accommodation.% "1# 3a:n?orcement 1 lletin,2he &E ne 2''() 11 "eb. 2''* Ihttp+,,?indarticle!.com,p,article!,mi4m2194,i!464(6,ai4n1933''9*J Steinberger, Ee??rey. Religion and the Workplace.% :ntreprene r. &19 Sep. 2''(). 11 "eb. 2''*

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Ihttp+,,---.entreprene,management,legali!! e!,legali!! e!col mni!tHe??rey!teinberger ,article1*4334.htmlJ Dnited State!. $ongre!!. >o !e. $ommittee on :d cation and the Work?orce. S bcommittee on :mployer6:mployee Relation!. 2he Workplace Religio ! "reedom Act o? 2''5. 1'9th $ong., 1!t !e!!. Wa!hington+ <=A, 2''6.