No matter where we work, it is more likely than not that we will encounter individuals with various religious beliefs, whether or not those beliefs are founded in a traditional recognized religious group or if they are of an individualized or alternative belief system. Again, it is the responsibility of management to have established a policy that is non-discriminatory and acknowledges religious differences while also stating that although those differences will be given consideration and accommodated as much as possible, it may not always be possible to accommodate all requests, consequently it will also be the responsibility of each employee to be tolerant of his/her fellow employee's beliefs. Further, an employee may not impose his/her beliefs upon another employee or overtly display or promote religious beliefs within the workplace.
Some of the most difficult religious issues are centered around the Jewish and Muslim religious new years; the Christian Xmas holiday; the African Kiwanza ceremonies; and the Easter and Passover observances. In one respect these observances are not substantially different from the Western New Year celebration versus that of the Asian New Year celebrations. Each culture has its own days with traditional ceremonies. One way to accommodate these differences is to have a policy that permits an employee to use 'personal time off' for these days. In addition, if a business is not required to be closed on Christmas Day or New Years Day, is it possible for employees to be permitted to work these days in exchange for a day off celebrating that employee's religious day? When answering this discussion thread, please also consider the following:
What are some practical steps that a human resources leader can take to assure that the company keeps its focus on the business's mission from day to day, while accommodating the right of parts of its workforce to practice their religion?
As the diversity of the workplace continues...