by Kabrina Krebel Chang
Originally published: March 15, 2016
Since 2007, the number of complaints for religious discrimination filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has risen significantly. It’s not hard to see why: An increase in immigrants of diverse faiths, greater workforce diversity, and the globalization of business all play a role in more workers from different religious backgrounds meeting on the job. For many employers, it is only a matter of time before they face conflicts between religion and work.
To resolve such conflicts, managers must frame the issues carefully and consider the long-term effects of their decisions. How they act can either improve morale by affirming an inclusive culture or it can suggest that religion is merely tolerated — and possibly invite litigation.
Consider what happened recently at a Cargill facility in Fort Morgan, Colorado. While some of the facts remain unknown, it appears that 11 Muslim workers of Somali descent wanted to pray at the same time in one of the two rooms at the plant set aside for prayer and reflection.