Here’s an important reminder for all managers and supervisors: If the workplace becomes a battleground over employee religious beliefs, count on a lawsuit.
Simply put, deriding someone’s religion or religious practices can create a hostile environment.
The best policy: Keep religion out of the workplace as much as possible. After all, we’re here to work.
Recent case: Jesus Suarez, a park construction foreman, is a devout Roman Catholic. One of his most cherished possessions was a rosary Pope John Paul II had personally blessed just a week before he died.
Suarez’s religious beliefs apparently bothered his supervisor and co-workers. Suarez claimed they constantly criticized his beliefs, told him “the devil was in him” and said it was a sin to be sick or poor. In addition, Suarez said co-workers put dead rats in his truck.
Then Suarez’s cherished rosary disappeared, and his supervisor had been heard to say that the rosary “doesn’t belong here.”
Suarez sued, alleging he had been forced to work in a religiously hostile environment.
The court considered the two things employees have to show when trying to prove a hostile environment:
- The employee believed the workplace was subjectively abusive.
- The workplace was objectively abusive.
The court said Suarez had shown both, based on his supervisor’s and co-workers’ behavior. (Suarez v. Nueces County, No. C-08-217, SD TX, 2009)
Final note: Remember that the law defines religion broadly. It covers not just major religious groups such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam, but includes other genuinely held but less mainstream beliefs, too.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/9938/warn-bosses-no-religious-harassment-at-work "