published Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Religious harassment complaints at the workplace are on the rise

Poll
Have you ever been religiously harassed at work?

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Justice statistics indicate that complaints of religious harassment in the workplace are on the rise.

In fact, according to University of Tennessee professor Rosalind Hackett, religious harassment claims are second only to complaints about sexual harassment.

"This is the second most problematic issue in the workplace," she said.

Hackett spoke to an audience of human resource managers, legal professionals and religious specialists Monday at a seminar entitled Religion in the Workplace and the World at UT's Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

Continue reading at the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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esaletnik said...

The TFP article implies that you will be harassed merely for being a certain religion. The Knoxville article however describes it in a different light. Harassment is insisting on being accommodated to practice all your religious beliefs at the work place regardless of company policy and then being "harassed" when you are told that you can't.

The solution is simple. Keep your religion at home and don't work somewhere if you can not go by their rules.

October 25, 2011 at 8:23 a.m.
holdout said...

Over the years I have seen complaints that ranged from, "I wasn't allowed to make animal sacrifices" to, "My boss has a bible on his desk where I can see it when I go into his office". From one extreme to the other in other words. I agree with esale. Keep it to yourself. Even if two or three co workers want to have a private discussion about religion it is wrong to saddle other coworkers with the work you let slide while you have that discussion. Work at work, worship on your own time.

October 25, 2011 at 8:36 a.m.
01centare said...

Yours make common sense to me, holdout. And stop trying to shove those little bibles and religious pamphlets at co-workers or sneaking them onto their desks when they're away.

October 25, 2011 at 9:54 a.m.
bravesguy9 said...

This is a 2 way street. While I haven't tried to push my religion upon any co-worker with passing out tracts or preaching to them at work...I will say that if a co-worker or an employer wants an employee to refrain from religious discussion...something needs to be done about vulgar language. We can't go with it's offensive for religious discussions and should be left at home w/o saying it's offensive for vulgar language and expect someone who believes differently to not be offensive. I have had co-workers publicly acknowledge that I don't care for their cussing, but they will cuss anyway and this comes from someone who feels that they respect me.I would just love to go to work w/o having to hear it all day. I don't force feed anyone my religion, so I don't want to be force fed foul language!

October 25, 2011 at 10:24 a.m.
Emersization said...

How about a Baptist gets a job at Walmart stocking shelves, then a manager puts that same person at a register selling alcohol and tobacco products? I have seen it happen!

October 25, 2011 at 10:36 a.m.
dao1980 said...

But Emersize, I thought that we Baptists where the ones who bought most of the alcohol... Why would we have a problem ringing it up?

October 25, 2011 at 11:04 a.m.
esaletnik said...

How about aBaptist gets a job at Walmart stocking shelves, then a manager puts that same person at a register selling alcohol and tobacco products? I have seen it happen!

Yes, but I'm told that they do not have to drink the alcohol or smoke the tobacco products if they don't want to. Are you saying that this employee is a victim of religious harassment?

October 25, 2011 at 11:16 a.m.

holdout said...

Over the years I have seen complaints that ranged from, "I wasn't allowed to make animal sacrifices" to, "My boss has a bible on his desk where I can see it when I go into his office". From one extreme to the other in other words. I agree with esale. Keep it to yourself. Even if two or three co workers want to have a private discussion about religion it is wrong to saddle other coworkers with the work you let slide while you have that discussion. Work at work, worship on your own time.

There are ways of avoiding the extremes without violating constitutional protection of free speech. The subject matter of discussions causing someone’s work to be passed off to others can vary widely. The solution is not to restrict legitimate categories of public expression. When someone is insensitive or obnoxious, either for or against religious ideas or other widely-held values, it is appropriate to address it as a matter of common-sense civility. When the expression of such opinions interferes with work responsibilities or productivity, it should be addressed as such. Sequestering religious speech to the private sphere is unconstitutional and, based on the historical record, un-American.

When an employer endorses or tolerates such unconstitutional sequestering, you have harassment. It takes effort to sort through all this, but it’s worth it to avoid the simplistic “all or nothing” approach.

October 25, 2011 at 12:32 p.m.
elkhart007 said...

Trying to say you should be able to bring religion to work because people say bad words isn't on the same plane. Everyone says bad words, no matter their religion. It's a form verbal expression in speech. Religion is an expression of a belief that's not work related. Active or passive religious recruitment or discussion doesn't have a place in the work place. Do what you're getting paid to do, work.

October 25, 2011 at 3:44 p.m.
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