EMPLOYERS OFTEN MUST a walk a fine line between accommodating employees’ needs while maintainingproductivity. As we report on page 1, a rise in religious discrimination claims makes this a case in point.
An increasingly diverse workforce in the United States, helped by immigration and civil rights laws, is bringing different cultures and religions into the workplace. We think this trend presents both a challenge and an opportunity for employers.
In an era of rhetoric purportedly based on “religious” values, it’s all too easy to mistrust co-workers who are overt about their religious practices, either through dress or other observance. We shouldn’t allow trust and respect to become casualties of these uncertain times. Nor should workers regard religious beliefs as excuses for avoiding professional obligations.
Bias has no place in the workplace, whether it’s for or against gender, race, ethnicity or religious background. Employers have an important role to play in helping promote civility and mutual respect, qualities that sometimes are in short supply.
Having a policy barring discrimination is a good first step, but employers must go further to educate employees about their legal rights and help create a culture of respect and mutual cooperation in the workplace.
We hope that as employers answer this challenge, the number of discrimination claims will shrink and that our society will become a better place in which to work and live.Please follow the guidelines.