Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

Essay by jwruckUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 2003

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"When the Magi came from the East to worship before the baby Jesus, Christianity gave notice that it was destined to become a world religion. And when those same Wise Men chose to disobey King Herod by leaving the country without reporting on the Christ child's whereabouts, they signaled that loyalty to Christ would trump all other authority. Since then, non-Christians have consistently reacted strongly to the Christian doctrine that Christ alone is 'the way, the truth and the life.'" (Ye shall, 40)

An employee approached me this past with week with a request to take off an extra hour with her lunch on Friday, April 13, 2001. She explained to me that she planned on attending a religious service and didn't we have a policy that stated that I was required to give her time off for religious reasons. I replied that I thought there was and I could check with HR (Human Resources Department) for the details, or she could just fill out a request for the time off and give it to me.

She filled out an Absence Approval form and brought it to me. I signed it and returned it to her. We were short staffed that day, and it was a slight inconvenience. (I ended up working through lunch and didn't get to work on my schoolwork.) The message I was trying to get across to her was that I would make every effort to grant a reasonable request to an employee. An employer who has the best interest of their employee at heart is unlikely to have trouble with equal opportunity regulations.

The Statutory Basis for Religious Discrimination is as follows:

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer--

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or...