Religion in the workplace
September 21, 2014
Religion in the workplace can be a very controversial issue among both parties. I will try and explain through theories why religion in the workplace can be fine even without offending those that are not religious. Many Christians believe that physical labor should not be performed on Saturdays or Sundays. Some religions even have practices such as keeping a beard or sacrificing animals. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion and its practices, but how far can this go in the workplace? It is not uncommon for workplace rules to interfere with a person’s religious practices. The one thing that is great about our society is that there is so much diversity in it, it makes it interesting to live in. Just because someone is religious does not mean they are unable to do their jobs. People’s religion has always been a controversy in the work place. There have even been laws put in place to help everyone involved. We tend to spend more time in the work place than we do at home with our own families. So much so that our work place sometimes feels as if we are at home. “Religion at work appears to be the latest type of diversity initiative in the workplace to be addressed as corporations develop faith-friendly policies to honor, respect, and dignify the spiritual dimension of employees’ lives.” (Von Bergen, 2013) The First Amendment establishes certain boundaries in terms of government establishment of religion and the individual's right to free exercise of a chosen religion. Although there have been laws put in place for religion in the workplace, how do really know when it is against someone’s religion or them making it convenient for their gain. Religion is already in our workplaces and we do not even realize it. Are we taking this freedoms that are allowed for granted or do we just not care? Most people do not understand religion nor do they care to understand it because it can be a different way of life, yet no different than a person who is not religious. Religion is a matter of belief and practice, and religious beliefs will rarely affect the duties of our employment. Companies try to accommodate all employees when it comes to sex, race and religion, amongst other things. The utilitarian argues that the company will take peoples religion into consideration as long as it does not affect the employees work. As long as the employee is doing their work and not forcing their beliefs on anyone else there should not be a problem with religion in the work place. The company that my father works for will allow a Seventh Day Adventist to have Saturday’s off even though it is mandatory for all employees as long as they bring in a note from their church. Since they have allowed that for this employee, there have been a couple of other employees to claim the same thing yet will still work when convenient for them. The utilitarian will also argue that it could be a form of discrimination to have to make all employees work Saturdays, except those that have a note because of their religious beliefs. Based on both arguments, how and when does an employer know when to take sides without a lawsuit for either side. Religion is a freedom and taking that from some people can be very hard. “Given the many cultures and societies around the world, the ethical relativist then concludes that all moral claims must be relativized in this way.” (Mosser, 2013) On the flip side you have more people who are not religious in our society that feel if we allow it in the workplace then it is being forced on everyone. If employee A is reading their bible during their lunch break and employee B walks by to see employee A, employee B can argue that since they are not religious and just seeing somebody read a book can be offensive then there is an issue. How does this company handle a complaint in this type of case? This can be a very tricky situation because since employee A is on...
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