Religious Diversity in the Workplace
A department has a coed softball team that has always been considered a big deal since the team began 10 years ago. The softball games are played on Sunday mornings and afternoons. Jenny, who was an all-star softball pitcher in high school and college, has just been transferred into the department, and her new coworkers are thrilled that their team has just become more competitive. Jenny, however, declines to be part of the team. Jenny is now tagged as “not a team player” throughout the office.
Williams (2010) stated that “religion is less apparent at times, but is by no means absent” (p. 258). Organizational employees and leaders must pay particular attention to small clues about an employee’s faith and/or religion. These clues can come in the form of pictures, poems, and décor within their workspace to gain an understanding of other’s religion. Williams (2010) stated that work is not a place known to welcome religion but none the less employees enter the workplace with their beliefs, values, and practices with them. Jenny’s religious preferences should be understood and respected by all employees and leaders. Jenny’s non-support of the Sunday softball games should not bring negativism towards her within the workplace. In this paper why people are treated badly, what mangers should do, and impacts of negative treatment will be explored.. Why would people in Jenny’s workplace not understand her religious convictions?
Estreicher and Gray (2010) listed three factors that exacerbate the problems managers face today with accommodating religion in the workplace. The three factors include: immigration increasing religious diversity in the workforce, religious issues are more open for discussion, and the events of September 11, 2001 (9/11) have led to workplace conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims. Additionally, Esteicher and Gray (2010) expounded on how religious discrimination creates a dilemma between balancing the rights of employees to protect and express their beliefs with the rights of coworkers to work in an environment absent of pressure by the religious views and practices of other employees. In Jenny’s case her religious belief has nothing to do with the workplace, however her co-workers inappropriately perceive her religion is infringing on their own religious views. Jenny’s belief places a higher priority on worship on the day of Sabbath vice playing softball with her co-workers. Esteicher and Gray (2010) explained that ethically this problem of balancing diverse and interdependent stakeholder interests places the employees in a true moral dilemma. Jenny is most likely in a moral dilemma to play softball or not. Furthermore, Esteicher and Gray (2010) and Williams (2010) explained that employees should not be expected to check their rights and beliefs at the organizational door. Jenny is well within her right to say no and management should...