Workers’ Rites: What happens when an employee’s freedom of religion crosses paths with a company’s interests?

Source: Vadim Liberman, Conference Board Review Magazine, September/October 2007

From the press release:
What happens when an employee’s freedom of religion crosses paths with a company’s interests? A recent article in The Conference Board Review looks to answer this question. In “Workers’ Rites,” TCB Review explores how expression of religion in the workplace often challenges businesses to find appropriate solutions to employees’ requests.

“Obviously, you can’t fire someone just because her faith differs from yours,” writes associate editor Vadim Liberman. “But what happens when you face situations that aren’t so black and white-when the beliefs and practices of customers and co-workers come into play, not to mention the intricacies of employment law?” As religion increasingly collides with corporate policies and practices, companies are asking what is and isn’t permissible behavior — for workers and for themselves.

Last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 2,541 claims of religious discrimination in the workplace — almost 50 percent more than a decade ago. And according to the New York-based Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, 66 percent of employees report “evidence of religious bias at work.”

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