Religion in the Workplace
SOC 120 Intro to Ethics & Social Responsibility
Professor Brianne Larsen
Monday April 27 , 2014
People around the world have a set of beliefs whether they choose to believe in Jesus Christ or not to agnostic and gnostic, everyone has a set of beliefs which they hold on to. However the question arises on how can we practice it outside our homes specifically at work without imposing other people’s rights who may not hold to the same views as one does. How does the view of a utilitarianism, deontology, and relativism tie into this matter, and could we find a balance on both sides to come to a logical conclusion on how things could be run at a workplace.
People seem to shy away when it comes to talk about religion and politics for good reason. One cannot come out of the conversation agreeing with the other side so they revert back to relativism which is a go to for some trying to avoid confrontations, but what about our rights to religious practice at work? Where does one draw the line? We were born with the freedom of choice, this includes choosing to believe in what others tell you, to listen to things etc. One can easily choose to leave the room or place, but where it gets troubling is if it takes place during a meeting and the other persons morals are founded strongly on their religious beliefs and they just might either make or break a company based on their decision or performance.
Why though do we feel as if we need to have the right to express ourselves? Well as Mosser., K explains “ because religion is such a basic part of a person’s self-conception, someone may feel his or her right to the free expression of religious beliefs is restricted by not being allowed to state them when and where he or she wishes.” A company may reap the blessings of a group or an individual true Christian and still not be biased to that person only because of the good that is coming out of it. This would result in good for the greatest number of people according to a utilitarianism view.
However there is another side to the coin even in the same ethical theory. Rule utilitarianism states that “allowing the majority’s religious views to be imposed on a minority does not create the greatest good for the greatest number.” (Mosser K.,) This also brings into light that people cannot be forced into something that they do not want to accept. Christianity was never meant to be forced upon people, but over the years it has been twisted to mean something other then what is true though there are those who still hold faithfully to what is right.
Even at mandatory work functions one cannot force prayer or religious service on one without possibly violating state laws. Sam Grover explains “ most likely any prayer or religious service that accompanies a mandatory work event or meeting would violate Title VII discrimination laws under the same reason used in Townley.” (Grover, S. 2010) The next question one could ask themselves how much is too much, when someone continuously asks to attend church or has their bible out on their office desk?
Harassment has taken place in the workplace when “an employee is required or coerced to abandon, alter, or adopt a religious practice as a condition of employment” (Grover, S 2010) A person by no means base their decisions on whether a person is of the same beliefs and or style of worship to give them the greatest good even if that particular religion is the biggest in the workplace, and leave the others hanging dry.
In an article written by ACLJ it speaks about prayer in the workplace as being legal, stating “In sum prayer is not illegal, unauthorized, inappropriate, nor improper – and as long as employees pray before or after working hours, or during official breaks, there should be no problem at all.” (ACLJ 2012) So the person cannot make it mandatory for anyone to participate in a religious gathering nor...
References: Mosser K., Bridgeport Education Inc, 2013 Ethics and Social Responsibility
Grover S., FFRF Summer 2010 http://ffrf.org/faq/state-church/item/14007-religion-in-the-workplace
ACLJ 2012 http://aclj.org/workplace-rights/religious-expression-workplace
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