Embrace religious diversity in the workplace
Updated: May 31, 2022
In today’s societal climate, the exploration of diversity is more critical than ever, with companies paying greater attention to diversity in many forms, including religious diversity. As we continue to look at various facets of diversity, we recognize the need to embrace religious diversity in the workplace, not only for a more diverse staff but for legal rights, acceptance and fairness.
By recognizing different religious perspectives, companies gain more innovative problem-solving capabilities while addressing the legal and equitable implications. As quoted by a CenterState CEO consultant at a recent diversity, equity and inclusion session, “Religious diversity includes feeling seen, included and accepted. It requires companies to provide support and solidarity to their employees.”
Religious diversity acknowledges that certain religions have specific requirements to uphold. Employees are federally protected from discrimination based on their religion under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which provides equal opportunities for employees regardless of their faith. These opportunities can occur during the workday and include aspects, such as a time of day for prayer or worship. Reasonable accommodations are often legally required for companies. Failing to provide opportunities for religious activities can be viewed as discrimination, which is illegal. Ensuring employees feel included and have a safe space designated for religious activities legally fulfills your requirements as a company and creates a more welcoming workplace.
Aside from the legal importance of acknowledging religious diversity in the workplace, it is also an issue of fairness. Recognition of religious diversity means providing opportunities for equity that may include policy adjustments to make it easier to take time off work for religious reasons. For most companies in the United States, religious holidays like Christmas often receive time off. Creating a flexible policy around religious diversity demonstrates other religious faiths are also accepted and recognized as important. Fairness provides an opportunity for workplaces to adapt and value the needs of an employee.
Diversity in all its layers cannot thrive without acceptance. Creating a culture of acceptance around religious diversity can be tricky due to the topic of religion. However, the journey toward a more inclusive workplace is ongoing. If implemented successfully, an accepting workplace creates a more inclusive culture where everyone respects each other’s differences.
As you continue to think about how your company can embrace diversity in all its forms and adapt to the needs of your employees, we are here to help. Diversity training is a learning tool to equip managers and employees with the knowledge to recognize bias and prejudices that could occur in the workplace. Reach out to us at email@example.com for support and guidance on where to get started.
Dr. Juhanna Rogers is vice president of Racial Equity and Social Impact at CenterState CEO. Contact Dr. Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about racial equity and social impact initiatives, DEI training courses and consultation services available through CenterState CEO.