Faith in the workplace

Bosses all over the Western world have been warned.

Unless they make allowances for the religious faiths of their ever more diverse workforces, they will suffer lawsuits, official rebukes and protests from staff.

Employees increasingly expect to be able, for example, to dress in accordance with their faith while at work, and be given appropriate times and places for prayer.

The latest admonition came last month in new guidelines from America’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, pointing out the steady rise in religious-discrimination cases (3,721 last year, up from 1,709 in 1997) and setting out what that means.

For example, businesses must respect the personal styles of their staff—Rastafarian dreadlocks, say—if these are inspired by faith.

And religiously attired workers must not be hidden away to avoid upsetting customers of a different faith.

European firms are still absorbing the impact of last year’s victory by a British Airways worker who won damages at the European Court of Human Rights after she was denied, temporarily, the right to wear a cross with her uniform.

In advice updated last month, Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission urges firms to meet religious needs, even if expressed by only one employee, as long as they do not infringe the rights of others. Continue reading.

Source: The Economist

Image: The Telegraph

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