Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Passing of the Pope Results in Increased Religious Discussion

Pope's death brings religious discussions into the workplace

Religion and politics are known as two dangerous topics of conversation. The recent passing of Pope John Paul II has made religion the popular topic in the workplace, regardless of faith. This is normal and expected, however there is cause for concern if these conversations take a negative turn.

DailyBreeze.com recently explored the issue of religion in the workplace and offered suggestions for employers...

The federal government has set standards regarding religious expression in the federal workplace, and much of these apply to other workplaces as well. Here are some general rules to follow, adapted from "Guidelines on Religious Exercise and Religious Expression in the Federal Workplace" (updated March 22):

Employees should be permitted to engage in private religious conversations in such places as cafeterias and hallways to the same extent that they may engage in nonreligious private expression, subject to reasonable content and provided the conversation doesn't interfere with work duties.

However, employees must refrain from such expression when a fellow employee asks that it stop or otherwise demonstrates that it is unwelcome. For example, if one employee invites another employee to attend worship services at her church, and the other employee, already a devout adherent of another faith, asks that the invitation not be repeated, the first employee must not ask again.

Laws against workplace discrimination include religious discrimination. As such, employees cannot make derogatory remarks to other employees about their faith or lack of faith. This typically will constitute religious harassment.

Also, a person holding supervisory authority over an employee may not, explicitly or implicitly, insist that the employee participate in religious activities as a condition of continued employment, promotion, salary increases, preferred job assignments, or any other incidents of employment. Nor may a supervisor insist that an employee refrain from participating in religious activities outside the workplace except pursuant to otherwise legal, neutral restrictions that apply to employees' off-duty conduct and expression in general.

Read the rest of the article here.

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