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Religion policies in practice

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

As a front-line manager, how do you go about implementing your policies--and following the law--about religious freedom at work? Things to consider:

All religious beliefs, including the lack of religious belief, are protected by workplace civil-rights laws. The courts consider any "sincerely held system of belief" to qualify. You may remember a recent case in which a bus driver was disciplined for not handing out free coupons for hamburgers to his passengers because he had ethical objections to eating meat. The bus company argued this didn't constitute "religious belief"--and lost.

Some managers try to handle this by trying to refuse any religious requests--thus treating everyone equally--but that's not legal. In most cases, you have to show that accommodation would cause "undue hardship" to your enterprise, or that honoring religious requests would compromise safety.

Mark on your calendar the religious observances celebrated by the people on your team. Those are good occasions to remind all your team members of your policies and how to request accommodation for religious belief.

What does "equal pay" mean?

What does the Equal Pay Act actually require?

A surprising number of employees think it means that two people in the same job must get the same compensation, or else the employer is breaking the law. This is, of course, wrong. The Equal Pay Act only prohibits gender discrimination--paying lower wages to women (usually, though the act applies to both genders) for jobs that are substantially equivalent to those of male colleagues.

The jobs don't have to be identical in every respect for the Equal Pay Act to apply, but the law does allow for paying employees different wages based on reasons other than gender--different skills sets, different working conditions, different levels of experience, and so on.

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