RELIGION AND WORK by Carol P. Harvey
In today’s global society, it is useful to learn more about the religions that may be practiced by coworkers. Without some knowledge, individuals may attribute incorrect meanings to others’ behaviors. In addition, organizations may have policies and practices that inadvertently conflict with their employees’ religious beliefs. For example, some organizations do not allow vacation time to be accrued, thus preventing pilgrimages that may require a month of leave. Others require all workers to take Christian holidays and do not capitalize on the opportunity to have non-Christians work on days that have no significance to them. Jewish employees, for example may choose to work on Christmas Eve in exchange for having Yom Kippur off with pay. Because many individuals may be reluctant to discuss their religion or to explain its practices in a work setting, misunderstanding of behavior can result.
The following scenarios depict workplace incidents in which others are not aware of the religious basis for the individual’s behavior. In each case, the employee is put in the limelight because of his/her religion. The supervisor or coworker, who has little or no knowledge of the religious practices that are at the root of these actions, may attribute an incorrect reason for the behavior that they see. These scenarios illustrate that lack of knowledge can lead to conflict, decreased productivity, and diminished motivation for workers as well as managers.
Each scenario illustrates the intersection between religion and the workplace. Pick one scenario, conduct additional research if needed, and share your answers to the following questions with your classmates on the discussion board. Each question is worth 4 points totaling 16 points for Part A of the assignment. For Part B, elaborate on another student’s post worth another 4 points. The total assignment is worth 20 points.
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