Title VII is a chapter in the constitution that prevents employers from discriminating workers based on their religious affiliations. The constitution prevents employers from discriminating employees based on their religious practices and beliefs.
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The law demands that employers must respect the religious views of employees in the organization. However, the law does not prevent religious organizations from applying strict rules. In the American labor market, religion is one of the contentious issues.
Employers find it hard to solve issues related to religion in the organization. Statistics from the EEOC proves that religious conflicts are in the increase in the American labor market.
The society is becoming diverse and plural implying that cultural conflicts are inevitable. Religious protection clause under article VII has generated a number of issues in organizations. Some of these debates include the following:
- What is a reasonable accommodation?
- What counts as a religious belief that needs to be accommodated?
- Can employees wear religious garbs or symbols in places of work?
- Can an employer demand to know the religion of an employee during recruitment?
- Can employees object to a diversity program or pledge on religious grounds
Employers must give realistic accommodation. For instance, the Seventh Day Adventist believers should be allowed to worship God on Saturday. If a company has a residence for employees, employers must provide space that should be used as a worshiping place.
It is the role of the employer to ensure that an employee worships God in the organization at the right time and in the right place. In this regard, the management should reschedule work to allow a group of employees to exercise their religious practices.
In the organization, article VII requires that the religious beliefs and practices of employees should be given priority over the interests of the company. In this regard, the organization should not question the credibility of any religious belief.
The law aims at covering the beliefs of many employees but not those beliefs belonging to conformist religious groups. In many organizations, the management recognizes the beliefs of Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. Other religious groups are not given an opportunity to exercise their religious right.
Therefore, the management must appreciate the religious beliefs of small groups such as cults, and sects. In the workplace, small religious groups are often denied worshiping rights since their practices are believed to defy societal rules.
Matters related to religion are sacred, and each should believer should be allowed to exercise a religion of his or her choice. In other words, an individual should not be forced to adopt religious practices that are inconsistent with his or her faith.
The organization should ensure that employees wear clothes of their choice. Some religions demand that believers must maintain a certain physical outlook and behavior. For instance, a Muslim believer must dress in a way that is consistent with the tenets of the Islamic culture.
Women are expected to cover their faces and men are supposed to put on a tarbush. For a company engaging in mining, the employee should be advised to put on safety clothes. However, this should not be mandatory. In the Islamic culture, men are not allowed to shave.
The organization must allow an employee to execute his or her duties while observing his or her religious code of dressing. Interfering with the dressing code of an employee might affect his or her duties in the organization.
During recruitment, the employer should not ask employees to state their religious denominations. In other words, religious beliefs should not be used to eliminate employees during a recruitment exercise.
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In some organizations, employers ask recruits whether their religious beliefs would prevent them from working during holidays. This question is unacceptable because Article VII states that an employee has religious rights that should not be compromised in any way.
Some employers are tempted to ask employees to state the church they attend. This should be discouraged, and those found engaging in this malpractice should be prosecuted. However, the employer might inform the employee on regular days of work and work shifts.
On diversity, an employee should not be forced to accept some cultures that contradict his or her religious beliefs. In the organization, the management might come up with a diversity program aimed at uniting the cultures of various individuals. Cultural diversity is an important aspect in the organization.
The management should always ensure that employees respect the culture of fellow employees. However, employees should be taken through a learning process implying that they should not be forced to accept the cultural practices that are not consistent with their religion.
For instance, employees are advised to respect the culture of gays and lesbians. The law provides that an individual should not be forced to accommodate a culture that challenges his or her religious practice.
For instance, employers tend to force employees to sign a code of conduct requiring them to tolerate homosexuality. Many religious beliefs oppose homosexuality.
Therefore, employees must be given a freedom to choose whether to associate with a homosexual or not. In the organization, an employee should not be forced to subscribe to a diversity program. This is because such a program might be going against his or her religious values.
An employee should be allowed to exercise his religious rights and freedoms without interference from the management. The management does not have the right to stop an employee from practicing a belief related to his or her religion.