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Religious Accommodation: Where to Draw the Line

Question: When it comes to managing the work schedule of a business, who has the final word? This is the question that is at the heart of the most recent dust-up at the meat packing giant, JBS Swift & Company. The problems began when around 300 Muslim workers at the company’s Greeley, Colorado plant walked off the job in a dispute over their desire to change their lunch schedule and add more breaks for prayer during the day. Their primary complaint was that the company refused to accommodate their observance of Ramadan by allowing them to take their lunch at sundown. Many of the workers, who walked off the job last Friday (Sept. 5th), were suspended. All were warned that if they failed to return to work when recalled, they would be fired. Between 130 and 150 of the workers lost their jobs. Assimilation and American Business One could cite this as yet another example of the need for immigrants and others that we might describe as &ldquo... [Read Full Article]

Religion in the Workplace

There are all sorts of things that happen in the workplace—love affairs, betting pools, competition for prime office space, discussions over trivial things that turn into squabbles over trivial things and, yes, even a bit of productive work—but one thing that seems to be on the rise is religious tension among coworkers.  In a recent survey by the Institute for Corporate Productivity, a third of the employers who participated said that they had seen personal clashes in the workplace over religion. What’s more, 31% reported that the unsolicited sharing of religious views has been a problem in their companies and that 13% said that they have employees who, because of their religious beliefs, refused to do certain work or associate with certain co-workers.  Ah! America in the 21st Century. What’s next? Will we see vegetarians refusing to work with carnivores? How about cat people eschewing dog people? Maybe we’ll have to deal with liberals... [Read Full Article]

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