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G&A Webinar: Religion in the Workplace: January 2016

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Religion in the workplace
Religion in the workplace
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G&A Webinar: Religion in the Workplace: January 2016

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Today's workforce is made up of individuals with varying and sometimes conflicting opinions about appropriate religious expression, particularly in the workplace. Because religion can be so deeply personal, disagreements tend to be uncomfortable, especially when emotions run high. In this atmosphere, employers may face challenging questions as they attempt to balance the rights of employees and the needs of the business, and be uncertain of what actions or policies they can and cannot implement to address the issue of religion.
Join us for a free webinar on Thursday, January 28 at 11 a.m. CST as Sean O’Donnell, one of our experienced HR advisors, explores the dos and don’ts of how to handle religion in the workplace.
Attendees of this free webinar will:
• Learn about the legal background of this issue, including federal regulations, case law and best practices;
• Explore an in-depth look at all issues of religion in the workplace: discrimination, harassment, accommodation and inclusion; and
• Come away with knowledge and practical strategies to deal with situations that may arise concerning religion in the workplace.

Today's workforce is made up of individuals with varying and sometimes conflicting opinions about appropriate religious expression, particularly in the workplace. Because religion can be so deeply personal, disagreements tend to be uncomfortable, especially when emotions run high. In this atmosphere, employers may face challenging questions as they attempt to balance the rights of employees and the needs of the business, and be uncertain of what actions or policies they can and cannot implement to address the issue of religion.
Join us for a free webinar on Thursday, January 28 at 11 a.m. CST as Sean O’Donnell, one of our experienced HR advisors, explores the dos and don’ts of how to handle religion in the workplace.
Attendees of this free webinar will:
• Learn about the legal background of this issue, including federal regulations, case law and best practices;
• Explore an in-depth look at all issues of religion in the workplace: discrimination, harassment, accommodation and inclusion; and
• Come away with knowledge and practical strategies to deal with situations that may arise concerning religion in the workplace.

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G&A Webinar: Religion in the Workplace: January 2016

  1. 1. Religion  in  the  Workplace   G&A  Webinar   January  2016    
  2. 2. Introduc>on   •  Title  VII  protec>ons  from  discrimina>on  and   harassment   •  Employer  obliga>on  to  provide  religious   accommoda>on   •  In  2014,  3,549  or  4%  of  charges  received  by  the   EEOC  involved  religion   •  Religious  issues  in  the  news   •  EEOC  Employer  Compliance  Manual    
  3. 3. Agenda   1.  What  Is  Religion?     2.  Discrimina>on   3.  Harassment   4.  Accommoda>on  
  4. 4. WHAT  IS  RELIGION?       Salt  and  Light  Media,  Religion  a  language  of  hope:  Salt  and  Light  Media.  
  5. 5. Pew  Research  Study   70.6%   11.7%   17.7%   0.0%   10.0%   20.0%   30.0%   40.0%   50.0%   60.0%   70.0%   80.0%   Chris>an   Other  Religion   No  Religion   Religious  Preference  US  2014   Religious  Preference   Pew  Research  Center,  Religions:  Pew  Research  Center.    
  6. 6. Pew  Research  Study   4.0%   3.1%   1.9%   1.8%   0.9%   0.7%   0.7%   0.0%   0.5%   1.0%   1.5%   2.0%   2.5%   3.0%   3.5%   4.0%   4.5%   Agnos>c   Atheist   Jewish   Other   Muslim   Buddhist   Hindu   Religious  Preference  US  2014   Non-­‐Chris>an  Religions   Pew  Research  Center,  Religions:  Pew  Research  Center.    
  7. 7. Protected  Religion  Includes:   •  Any  moral  or  ethical  belief  system  concerning   “ul>mate  ideas”  about  “life,  purpose,  and   death”.     •  Tradi>onal,  organized  religions  (Chris>anity,   Judaism,  Islam,  Hinduism,  and  Buddhism  etc.)   EEOC  12.I.A.1   Jenny  Truong,  Explain  and  analyze  the  interac8ons  between  Muslims,  Jews  and  Chris8ans:   Wikispaces.  
  8. 8. Protected  Religion  Includes:   •  Religious  beliefs  that  are     Ø new,     Ø uncommon,     Ø not  part  of  a  formal  church  or  sect,     Ø only  subscribed  to  by  a  small  number  of  people,     Ø illogical  or  unreasonable  to  others.     •  Theis>c  beliefs  as  well  as  non-­‐theis>c  “moral   or  ethical  beliefs  as  to  what  is  right  and   wrong  which  are  sincerely  held  with  the   strength  of  tradi>onal  religious  views.”   EEOC  12.I.A.1  
  9. 9. “Sincerely  Held”   •  Employers  only  required  to  accommodate   religious  beliefs  that  are  “sincerely  held.”   •  the  “sincerity”  of  an  employee’s  stated  religious   belief  is  usually  not  in  dispute  -­‐  unless…   Ø employee  has  behaved  in  a  manner  markedly   inconsistent  with  the  professed  belief   Ø the  accommoda>on  sought  is  a  par>cularly  desirable   benefit  that  is  likely  to  be  sought  for  secular  reasons   Ø the  >ming  of  the  request  renders  it  suspect   •  an  individual’s  beliefs  –  or  degree  of  sincerity  or   adherence  –  may  change  over  >me  
  10. 10. “Real”  religion?   •  Morgana  asks  for  >me  off  on  October  31  to   ahend  the  “Samhain  Sabbat,”  the  New  Year   observance  of  Wicca,  her  religion.       •  Her  supervisor  refuses,  saying  that  Wicca  is   not  a  “real”  religion  but  an  “illogical   conglomera>on”  of  “various  aspects  of  the   occult,  such  as  faith  healing,  self‑hypnosis,   tarot  card  reading,  and  spell  cas>ng,  which   are  not  religious  prac>ces.”      
  11. 11. Can  You  Ques>on?   •  Bob,  who  had  been  a  dues-­‐paying   member  of  the  CDF  union  for   fourteen  years,  had  a  work-­‐related   dispute  with  a  union  official  and  one   week  later  asserted  that  union   ac>vi>es  were  contrary  to  his   religion  and  that  he  could  no  longer   pay  union  dues.  The  union:   A.  Must  accommodate  Bob’s  request  to   stop  paying  dues  because  of  his   religious  objec>on.   B.  May  require  Bob  to  provide   addi>onal  informa>on  showing  that   his  claim  is  religious  and  sincerely   held.   EEOC  example  30   Mike  McElfresh,  What  about  dues?:  The  103  Advantage  
  12. 12. Answer   The  union:   B.  May  require  Bob  to  provide  addi>onal   informa>on  showing  that  his  claim  is  religious   and  sincerely  held.   The  union  has  a  “bona  fide  doubt”  about  whether   this  is  really  a  maher  of  religion,  or  sincerely  held   belief,  so  it  is  en>tled  to  ask  about  facts  and   circumstances  of  the  employee’s  claim.  
  13. 13. DISCRIMINATION   The  Boss  Show,  Religion  in  the  Workplace:  The  Boss  Show.    
  14. 14. Recruitment,  Hiring,  and  Promo>on   •  “Employers  that  are  not  religious  organiza>ons  may   neither  recruit  individuals  of  a  par>cular  religion  nor   adopt  recruitment  prac>ces,  such  as  word-­‐of-­‐mouth   recruitment,  that  have  the  purpose  or  effect  of   discrimina>ng  based  on  religion.”       •  “Title  VII  permits  employers  that  are  not  religious   organiza>ons  to  hire  and  employ  employees  on  the   basis  of  religion  only  if  religion  is  “a  bona  fide   occupa>onal  qualifica>on  reasonably  necessary  to   the  normal  opera>on  of  that  par>cular  business  or   enterprise.”  
  15. 15. Bona  Fide  Occupa>onal  Qualifica>on   •  Title  VII  permits  employers  to  hire  and   employ  employees  on  the  basis  of  religion  if   religion  is  “a  bona  fide  occupa>onal   qualifica>on  [“BFOQ”]  reasonably  necessary   to  the  normal  opera>on  of  that  par>cular   business  or  enterprise.”   •  Religious  organiza>ons  don’t  need  BFOQ   •  Other  businesses  will  have  a  very  difficult   >me  using  BFOQ  for  religion.  
  16. 16. Discipline  and  Discharge   •  Title  VII  also  prohibits  employers  from   disciplining  or  discharging  employees   because  of  their  religion.  
  17. 17. Compensa>on/  Terms  of  Employment   •  Title  VII  prohibits  discrimina>on  on  a   protected  basis  “with  respect  to  .  .  .   compensa>on,  terms,  condi>ons,  or   privileges  of  employment,”     •  For  example,  serng  or  adjus>ng  wages,   gran>ng  benefits,  and/or  providing  leave  in  a   discriminatory  fashion.  
  18. 18. Customer  Preference   •  If  an  employer  takes  an  ac>on  based  on  the   discriminatory  preferences  of  others,   including  co-­‐workers  or  clients,  the  employer   is  unlawfully  discrimina>ng.  
  19. 19. Example   •  Harinder,  who  wears  a  turban  as  part   of  his  Sikh  religion,  is  hired  to  work  at   the  counter  in  a  coffee  shop.    A  few   weeks  aser  Harinder  begins  working,   the  manager  no>ces  that  the  work   crew  from  the  construc>on  site  near   the  shop  no  longer  comes  in  for  coffee   in  the  mornings.       •  When  he  inquires,  the  crew  complains   that  Harinder,  whom  they  mistakenly   believe  is  Muslim,  makes  them   uncomfortable  in  light  of  the   September  11th  ahacks.       •  The  manager  tells  Harinder  that  he  has   to  let  him  go  because  the  customers’   discomfort  is  understandable.     EEOC  example  14   Faiths  Forum  for  London,  Sikhism:  Faiths  Forum  for  London.  
  20. 20. Court  Awards  Over  Half  Million  Dollars  Against  Consol   Energy/Consolida>on  Coal  In  Religious  Discrimina>on  Lawsuit   •  Beverly  R.  Butcher,  Jr.  had  worked  as  a  general  inside  laborer  at  the   companies'  mine  in  Mannington,  W.V.,  for  over  35  years  when  the   mining  companies  required  employees  to  use  a  newly  installed   biometric  hand  scanner  to  track  employee  >me  and  ahendance.     •  Butcher  repeatedly  informed  company  officials  that  submirng  to   biometric  hand  scanning  violated  his  sincerely  held  religious  beliefs  as   an  Evangelical  Chris>an.  He  also  wrote  a  leher  to  company  officials   explaining  his  beliefs  about  the  rela>onship  between  hand-­‐scanning   technology  and  the  "Mark  of  the  Beast"  and  the  An>christ  discussed  in   the  New  Testament's  Book  of  Revela>on,  and  reques>ng  an  exemp>on   from  the  hand  scanning  based  on  his  religious  beliefs.   •  In  response,  the  mining  companies  refused  to  consider  alternate  means   of  tracking  Butcher's  >me  and  ahendance  and  informed  him  he  would   be  disciplined  up  to  and  including  discharge  if  he  refused  to  scan  his   hand,  according  to  the  lawsuit.  EEOC  charged  that  Butcher  was  forced   to  reHre  because  the  companies  refused  to  provide  a  reasonable   accommoda>on  for  his  religious  beliefs.   EEOC  Press  Release  8-­‐27-­‐2015  
  21. 21. HARASSMENT  
  22. 22. Religious  Coercion  That  Cons>tutes  a   Tangible  Employment  Ac>on   •  Title  VII  is  violated  when  an  employer  or   supervisor  explicitly  or  implicitly  coerces  an   employee  to  abandon,  alter,  or  adopt  a   religious  prac>ce  as  a  condi>on  of  receiving   a  job  benefit  or  avoiding  an  adverse  ac>on.  
  23. 23.  Hos>le  Work  Environment   •  Based  on  religion   •  Unwelcome   •  Severe  or  pervasive   Career  Realism,  How  to  deal  with  workplace  harassment:  Career  Realism.    
  24. 24.  Sources  of  Harassment   •  Supervisors/managers   •  Co-­‐workers   •  Non-­‐employees  
  25. 25. Preven>ng  Harassment  Claims   •  Policy   •  Procedure  for  repor>ng   and  inves>ga>ng   complaints   •  Training   Eric  B.  Meyer,  39  Reasons  why  your  employee   handbook  may  violate  the  law:  TLNT.  
  26. 26.  Prosely>zing   •  Accommoda>on  vs.  Harassment     Ø It  would  be  an  undue  hardship  for  an  employer   to  accommodate  prosely>zing  by  an  employee  if   it  cons>tuted  poten>ally  unlawful  religious   harassment  of  a  co-­‐worker  who  found  it   unwelcome,  or  if  it  otherwise  interfered  with  the   opera>on  of  the  business.   Ø Undue  hardship  if  employee’s  message  easily   confused  to  be  the  employer’s  message.  
  27. 27. Tahoos   •  Keme>c  tahoos   •  Swas>ka  tahoos   Pinterest,  Ankh  taIoo:  Pinterest.  
  28. 28. One  Communica>ons  Corp.  Will  Pay  $66,000  to   Sehle  EEOC  Religious  Harassment  Lawsuit     •  The  EEOC  charged  that  the  vice  president  of  sales   regularly  subjected  account  execu>ves  Collin  Buten,   Alan  Gordon  and  Marc  Reinstein  to  harassment   because  of  their  religion,  Judaism,  at  the  company’s   facility  in  Conshohocken,  Pa.     •  Even  though  the  employees  complained  to   management  about  the  harassment,  which  included   an>-­‐Semi>c  remarks,  the  company  failed  to  take   effec>ve  remedial  measures  to  stop  the  offensive   conduct.     •  The  religious  harassment  was  so  intolerable  that   Gordon  was  forced  to  quit.   EEOC  Press  Release  11-­‐18-­‐2010  
  29. 29. ACCOMMODATION   Miram  Bell,  Is  there  a  place  for  God  in  the  workplace?:  HRM  New  Zealand  
  30. 30.  Religious  Accommoda>on   •  Adjustment  to  the  work  environment  that  will   allow  the  employee  to  comply  with  his  or  her   religious  beliefs.       •  Needed  when  an  individual’s  religious  beliefs,   observances,  or  prac>ces  conflict  with  a  specific   task  or  requirement  of  the  job  or  the   applica>on  process.         •  Accommoda>on  requests  osen  relate  to  work   schedules,  dress  and  grooming,  or  religious   expression  or  prac>ce  while  at  work.    
  31. 31. Examples  of  Accommoda>on  Requests   •  A  Catholic  employee  requests  a  schedule  change  so  that   he  can  ahend  church  services  on  Good  Friday.       •  A  Muslim  employee  requests  an  excep>on  to  the   company’s  dress  code  allowing  her  to  wear  a  headscarf.   •  A  Hindu  employee  requests  an  excep>on  allowing  her  to   wear  her  bindi  (religious  forehead  marking).       •  An  atheist  asks  to  be  excused  from  the  religious   invoca>on  offered  at  the  beginning  of  staff  mee>ngs.       •  An  adherent  to  Na>ve  American  spiritual  beliefs  seeks   unpaid  leave  to  ahend  a  ritual  ceremony.       •  An  employee  who  iden>fies  as  Chris>an  but  is  not   affiliated  with  a  par>cular  sect  or  denomina>on  requests   accommoda>on  of  his  religious  belief  that  working  on  his   Sabbath  is  prohibited.     EEOC  example  3  
  32. 32.  Steps  of  Accommoda>on   1.  No>ce  of  the  Conflict  Between  Religion  and   Work   2.   Discussion  of  Request   3.   Determine  whether  Accommoda>on   requested  is  “reasonable”  –  is  there  an     ”Undue  Hardship”?  
  33. 33.  Determining  Undue  Hardship   •  Case-­‐by-­‐Case  Determina>on   •  More  than  “De  Minimis”  Cost   •  Seniority  Systems  and  Collec>vely  Bargained   Rights   •  Co-­‐worker/Client  Complaints   Ø “Have  a  blessed  day”  gree>ng   Ø “Jesus  Saves”  sign   Ø An>-­‐abor>on  poster   •  Security  Considera>ons   •  Social  Security  Number   •  Customer  Fears  or  Prejudices  
  34. 34. Customer  Fears  or  Prejudices   •  Nasreen,  a  Muslim  >cket  agent   for  a  commercial  airline,  wears  a   head  scarf,  or  hijab,  to  work  at   the  airport  >cket  counter.       •  Aser  September  11,  2001,  her   manager  objected,  telling   Nasreen  that  the  customers   might  think  she  was   sympathe>c  to  terrorist   hijackers.       •  Nasreen  explains  to  her   manager  that  wearing  the  hijab   is  her  religious  prac>ce  and   con>nues  to  wear  it.    She  is   terminated  for  wearing  it  over   her  manager’s  objec>on.       EEOC  example  47   Terrence  Law  &  Lisa  Johnson,  The  legal  and  ethical   environment  of  business,  v  1.0:  Flat  World  Knowledge  
  35. 35.  Common  Accommoda>ons   •  Scheduling  Changes   •  Voluntary  Subs>tutes  and  Shis  Swaps   •  Change  of  Job  Tasks  and  Lateral  Transfer   •  Modifying  Workplace  Prac>ces,  Policies  and   Procedures   •  Excusing  Union  Dues  or  Agency  Fees   •  Permirng  Prayer,  Prosely>zing,  and  Other   Forms  of  Religious  Expression  
  36. 36. Lateral  Transfer   •  An  electrical  u>lity  lineman  requests   accommoda>on  of  his  Sabbath   observance.   •  Because  the  nature  of  his  posi>on   requires  being  available  to  handle   emergency  problems  at  any  >me,  there   is  no  accommoda>on  that  would   permit  the  lineman  to  remain  in  his   posi>on  without  posing  an  undue   hardship.       •  The  employer  can  accommodate  the   lineman  by  offering  a  lateral  transfer  to   another  assignment  at  the  same  pay,  if   available.       •  If,  however,  no  job  at  the  same  pay  is   readily  available,  then  the  employer   could  sa>sfy  its  obliga>on  to   reasonably  accommodate  the  lineman   by  offering  to  transfer  him  to  a   different  job,  even  at  lower  pay,  if  one   is  available.   EEOC  example  45   Michael  W.  Kahn,  Training  next  genera8on  of  linemen:  Electric   Co-­‐Op  Today.  
  37. 37.  Modifying  Workplace  Prac>ces,  Policies   and  Procedures   •  Dress  and  Grooming  Standards   •  Use  of  Employer  Facili>es   •  Tests  and  Other  Selec>on  Procedures  
  38. 38. Na>onal  Federa>on  of  the  Blind  Sued   for  Religious  Discrimina>on  by  EEOC    •  Joseph  R.  Massey  II  is  a  prac>cing  Hebrew  Pentecostal,  a   Chris>an  denomina>on,  and  abstains  from  working  from   sunset  Friday  to  sunset  Saturday  based  on  his  sincerely-­‐ held  religious  beliefs.       •  The  Federa>on  told  Massey  he  had  to  work  certain   Saturdays.       •  Massey  explained  he  could  not  work  Saturdays  due  to  his   religious  faith  and  suggested  alterna>ves  such  as  working   on  Sundays  or  working  late  on  week  nights  other  than   Fridays.       •  EEOC  charged  that  the  Federa>on  refused  to  provide  any   reasonable  accommodaHon  and  instead  fired  Massey   because  he  could  not  work  Saturdays  due  to  his  religious   beliefs.     EEOC  Press  Release  8-­‐21-­‐2015  
  39. 39.  Employer  Sponsored  Programs   •  Some  employers  have  integrated  their  own  religious   beliefs  or  prac>ces  into  the  workplace,  and  they  are   en>tled  to  do  so.     •  If  an  employer  holds  religious  services  or  programs  or   includes  prayer  in  business  mee>ngs,  Title  VII   requires  that  the  employer  accommodate  an   employee  who  asks  to  be  excused  for  religious   reasons.     •  Excusing  an  employee  from  religious  services   normally  does  not  create  an  undue  hardship  because   it  does  not  cost  the  employer  anything  and  does  not   disrupt  business  opera>ons  or  other  workers.  
  40. 40.  Prayer  at  Mee>ngs   •  Michael’s  employer   requires  that  the   mandatory  weekly  staff   mee>ng  begin  with  a   religious  prayer.       •  Michael  objects  to   par>cipa>ng  because  he   believes  it  conflicts  with   his  own  sincerely  held   religious  beliefs.       •  He  asks  his  supervisor  to   allow  him  to  arrive  at   the  mee>ng  aser  the   prayer.     EEOC  example  51   Peggy  Bowes,  How  to  prac8ce  Chris8anity  at  work:  Beliefnet.    
  41. 41.  Holiday  Decora>ons   •  Each  December,  the  president  of   XYZ  corpora>on  directs  that   several  wreaths  be  placed   around  the  office  building  and  a   tree  be  displayed  in  the  lobby.       •  Several  employees  complain   that  to  accommodate  their  non-­‐ Chris>an  religious  beliefs,  the   employer  should  take  down  the   wreaths  and  tree,  or   alterna>vely  should  add  holiday   decora>ons  associated  with   other  religions.       •  Title  VII  does  not  require  that   XYZ  corpora>on  remove  the   wreaths  and  tree  or  add  holiday   decora>ons  associated  with   other  religions.     EEOC  example  52   Shouts  from  the  Abyss,  Christmas…:  Shouts  from  the  Abyss.  
  42. 42. HRCI  CerHficaHon  Credits:     "This  webinar  has  been  pre-­‐cer>fied  for  1  hour  of  general  recer>fica>on  credit   toward  PHR,  SPHR  and  GPHR  recer>fica>on  through  the  HR  Cer>fica>on  Ins>tute.       We  will  send  out  a  confirmaHon  e-­‐mail  to  all  those  that  are  confirmed  as   aQended  with  the  program  ID  code  to  note  on  your  HRCI  recerHficaHon   applicaHon  form.       The  use  of  this  seal  is  not  an  endorsement  by  the  HR  Cer>fica>on  Ins>tute  of  the  quality   of  the  program.    It  means  that  this  program  has  met  the  HR  Cer>fica>on  Ins>tute's   criteria  to  be  pre-­‐approved  for  recer>fica>on  credit."   QUESTIONS?   G&A  Partners   info@gnapartners.com   (800)  253-­‐8562   *This webinar has been recorded and will be posted on the G&A website by Friday. 42  

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