Should Religion Be Allowed at The Workplace?

When it comes to religion at the workplace, there are two ways in which people react.

Expression of religious beliefs has become a major issue in today's world. When it comes to religion at the workplace, there are two ways in which people react -either they absolutely do not want religious expression at the workplace at all, or they want their workplaces to be liberal enough to allow people to openly practice their faiths. This is a very tricky matter because the constitution is interpreted in different ways by different people. Majorly, however, people feel that their religious rights are being curbed.

The disbanding of the Christian Bible group at JP Morgan is an example of religion being removed from the workplace. JP Morgan had devout Christians regularly meeting together to discuss faith and to read the Bible. However, with time religious meetings have faced severe restrictions by the company. An executive at JP Morgan, who insists on staying anonymous, spoke about how the Human Resources department at his company gave him a call in 2014 informing him that with immediate effect, organized religious gatherings were prohibited. The executive believes that religious people are definitely facing persecution at the workplace.

The company on the other hand insists that they have stopped these meetings as the attendees tend to use company resources for these purposes, when actually these resources are provided for business purposes alone. This utilization of resources for reasons apart from business has proven to be too expensive for the company. JP Morgan also provides prayer rooms at its larger offices and as such, sees no reason why separate meetings should take place in areas such as company conference rooms.

Religious dressing too is an issue that is increasingly becoming a point of debate in workplaces today. Cases where Muslim women have either been rejected jobs or have had their jobs terminated is very common today. The same goes with Muslim men who have beards or wear skull caps. Recently, a Muslim lawyer was asked to remove her hijab while practicing in Germany. Again, the same debate as to how the country's laws pertaining to religious freedom should be interpreted continues.

Muslims seem to be receiving the worst out of the emerging restrictions on practicing religion at the work place. Muslims are enjoined by their religion to pray five times a day. However, not all companies provide ample time for them to go on with their practices. Some companies have even reportedly gone to the extent of firing Muslim employees for taking prayer breaks.

As the debate continues as to whether religious freedom refers to each community being allowed to practice their faith at the workplace or not, one thing is certain. The conflicts between communities is what is really making companies opt for a religion-neutral environment. As such, the onus to preserve religious freedom rests on the employees' ability to accept each other's differences graciously and respectfully.

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