HRM 635 How could Christian perspectives prevent an employee from performing their required duties?
HRM 635 How could Christian perspectives prevent an employee from performing their required duties?
Everyone has a viewpoint on religion or spiritual belief, be it atheistic, dogmatic, academic, indifferent or somewhere in between. Managing these various points of view with respect and equity can create a culture where employees are happier and more productive, while also making legal compliance easier for the employer. Employers now recognize it is essential to establish a work environment where differences are treated with respect and inclusion. Diversity, equity and inclusion programs, including employee training, should include religious differences along with other dimensions of diversity. The HR should make it clear that it is the responsibility of every employee to be aware, knowledgeable and respectful of a wide range of religious and nonreligious beliefs. Educating employees about different religious practices can reduce some workplace conflict due to misunderstandings and can also foster a more inclusive work environment. The company’s human resource professionals can host a voluntary lunch-and-learn-type gatherings, and invite employees to share about their religious practices or celebrate World Religion Day (the third Sunday in January) with education and activities planned by a diverse group of employees.
For the business world to act ethically and responsibly, it must have access to sound religious morality, through its people in ownership, as well as on the work floor. Therefore, more people are being made aware of the truth and have decided that, despite pressure from the society, they can no longer keep their faith a secret while at work. After all, if they have sincerely committed their lives to God, how can they leave Him out of the place where they earn their living, and spend the better part of each day? The answer to the second part of this question varies. The HR according to Sack has to determine whether the issue at hand, involves the employer or not. They have to decide if it is appropriate or necessary to get involved or not. To do that, she suggests asking yourself these questions:
- To my knowledge, is there a potential legal issue here for the company?
- Is someone’s safety in jeopardy?
- Does this conflict with the company’s culture, mission or policies, or what we expect of our employees?
A hostile work environment is created when an employee is subject to intimidation, ridicule and insult based on religion that is severe and/or ongoing. According to the EEOC, to establish a case of religious hostile work environment harassment, an employee must show the following:
- The harassment was based on the employee’s religion.
- The harassment was unwelcome.
- The harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of employment by creating an objectively and subjectively hostile or abusive work environment.
- There is a basis for employer liability.
Managers should also be trained in how to identify accommodations that might be offered to avoid disruption. For example, some employers may designate an unused or private workplace location for prayer or Bible study to prevent disrupting other workers. Employers should consider incorporating into anti-harassment training for managers and employees a discussion of religious expression and the need for all employees to be sensitive to the beliefs or non-belief of others. In the service of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers are required to shun any discrimination of employees based on religion, gender, disability, color, age, and many more. However, employees are legally expected to diligently perform their duties as per the job description. The employer should protect the employee from any procedure that may inflict harm on him/her. Yet, religious identity in the workplace is often neglected in human resource (HR) theory and practice, making it a workplace diversity issue prone to tension and conflict (Gebert et al.2014). Nonetheless, the intersection of religion and the workplace is not widely studied in either HR or organizational research (Lynn, Naughton, & Vander Veen,2010).
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In addition, Martin’s (2017) research suggests that ignoring the behavior of religious employees is to the detriment of employers, because if ignored, then work assumes a subsidiary role to people with religious ideals, and religion takes on a higher responsibility for maintaining order. This is because God is their ultimate authority, and not bosses, managers, or employers. This is an important detail, because, this awareness guides their human action, their intentions, and who they perceive as an authority (Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009). In conclusion, Federal and State laws protect the religious freedoms of employees and employers. Therefore, employers can run their business in conformance with godly principles, and employees cannot be forced to act in a manner that conflicts with their religious beliefs.
Askeland, G. A., Døhlie, E. (2015). Contextualizing international social work: Religion as a relevant factor. International Social Work, 58, 261-269.
Graham, J., Haidt, J., Nosek, B. A. (2009). Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 1029-1046. doi:10.1037/a0015141
Martin, K. (2017). Workshop: How to use your work to worship God. Sydney, Australia: Grace works.
Sikkink, D. (2000). Religion at work: Conservative Protestantism, religiosity, and ethics in the workplace. Retrieved from http://www3.nd.edu/~dsikkink/ethics.html
Religion impacts not just employee values but also lifestyles. Such differences can put employees at odds with one another. It can also create conflict regarding their assigned job duties, dress codes, scheduling, and other workplace issues as people struggle to honor their commitment to their faith. An example would be if your Jehovah’s Witness and generally employees at restaurants get together to sing happy birthday to patrons as part of the birthday dining experience. Or even celebrate Christmas and other holidays that as Jehovah’s Witness may consider paganistic.
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), under this federal law, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on account of their religion. The law extends to recruitment, hiring, training, pay, discipline, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment.
Title VII also requires covered employers to provide a reasonable accommodation when an applicant or employee experiences conflict between work and faith-based obligations—as long as doing so would not present undue hardship upon the employer. Reasonable accommodation can be simple and/or creative solutions that eliminate the work/religion conflict without creating undue hardship. Such examples are flexible/adjusted schedules, use of floating holidays, swapping shifts or specific job duties with other workers or job reassignment.
Homepage. Tanenbaum. (2021, November 1). Retrieved May 29, 2022, from https://tanenbaum.org/ Feffer, M. (2021, July 6). Ethical vs. legal responsibilities for HR professionals. SHRM. Retrieved May 29, 2022, from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/behavioral-competencies/ethical-practice/pages/ethical-and-legal-responsibilities-for-hr-professionals.aspx
The workplace should be an environment that offers equal opportunity. There is a constant fear of lawsuits against a company for not offering equal opportunities. Laws have been protecting these employees for decades and setting a standard against discrimination. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act states, “an employer cannot discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin” (Dessler, 2016, p. 95). This act forbids discrimination in the workplace, both in the private and public sector.
Religion is everywhere in the hospital. Where there is prayer, there is religion. The religions of employees must be respected as much as they are for the patients they serve. The Christian perspective can create some barriers in the hospital setting when it comes to the beliefs of the staff. For example, Sundays are a day for worship. These are hard days to staff and also honor their religious wishes. Another example is people of the catholic faith wishing to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday or not eating meat on Fridays during Lent. It can also be a test of faith to care for patients that have made life choices not in line with the Christian faith. In Atlanta, we had a patient that had taken a medication to induce abortion of her pregnancy but had experienced excessive bleeding. One of my staff members was very upset about this situation and came to me that she was uncomfortable caring for someone that had decided against her beliefs. My first step was to call HR. Legally, the nurse has a responsibility to care for her patients. Ethically, I could understand her despair in the choice and situation of the patient. We ended up having a great discussion on why the patient was here and the nurse’s role in care. She did ask for an assignment switch, which we were able to grant as another nurse was agreeable to switching assignments.
Human resource management is a great tool to lean on during ethical and legal dilemmas when it comes to decision making. Truly, societies can’t rely on a workplace’s sense of morality to do the right thing, that’s why there are laws in place to enforce the protection of patient rights but also the employees (Dessler, 2016). Human resources are aware of these laws and can help guide in a decision-making process to ensure that a respectful environment is maintained when honoring employees’ views and beliefs.
Dessler, G. (2016). Human Resource Management (15th ed.). Pearson Education.
Nurses have the responsibility to provide care to their patients, authority to influence their care, and an ability to advocate for them. Nurses follow the Nightingale Pledge where they promise not to cause harm to patients, practice discretion, dedicate themselves to their work, will not do anything evil or malicious, and will not knowingly give harmful drug or assist in malpractice. Hospice nurses play a vital role in the holistic care they provide to their patients. In 2016, California became the seventh state in the country to permit physician-assisted death and since then the law has gone through several challenges. This law allows physicians to prescribe qualifying patients with legal doses of medications that the patients administer themselves to end their life. Christians nurses believe that life is sacred, and that life was given by God, and only God can decide when life ends. The dilemma lies when Christian nurses are not able to separate their Christian views and those of their patients. Nurses have a responsibility to care for their patients but not judge them for the choices they make. Nurses must be able to separate their values and believes when caring for their patients. The nurse’s responsibility during a patient’s time to end their life is to be present for the patient, family, and physician although they do not agree with their decision. The American Nurses Association states that nurses must deliver high-quality compassionate care, holistic and patient-centered care, including end-of-life care. End-of-life care include respect for patient decision making, non-judgmental support for patient’s end-of-life preferences and values, prevention, and alleviation. Nurses are ethically not allowed to administer or aid in dying but must be comfortable supporting patients with end-of-life conversation and understand and reflect on their personal values related to the medical aid in dying and be aware of their values from one’s ability to prove objective information in response to a patient’s request.
The Human Resources professionals must be able to manage moral, ethical, and legal responsibilities. Human Resource professionals are now tasked with bigger responsibilities of dealing such as addressing issues of inequality, setting standards around workplace conduct, uphold ethical standards, and strive for fair work environment. Human Resources must know and understand labor laws so they can make complex decisions and hold employees accountable for wrongful actions. Human Resource representatives must be ethical leaders that assist in conflict resolution between colleagues. Human Resource representatives must be committed in doing the right thing regardless of the cost. They should have awareness to act consistently and apply moral convictions to daily behavior. They must be competent to collect and evaluate information, develop alternatives, and foresee potential consequences and risks.
American Nurses Association. (2016). Nurses’ role and responsibilities in providing care and support at end of life. https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nursing-excellence/official-position-statements/id/nurses-roles-and-responsibilities-in-providing-care-and-support-at-the-end-of-life/
Dessler, G. (2016). Human resource management (15th ed.). Pearson/Prentice Hall. ISBN-13: 9780134235455
The current workplace is highly diverse as people from different regions, gender, cultures, and religions work together. These inevitable differences affect how people interact, interpret issues, and perceive work and colleagues. Christian perspectives are widespread in the workplace, particularly in areas where Christianity is dominant. Such perspectives can prevent employees from performing their required duties.
Christian perspectives make employees and leaders interpret issues based on their respective religious teachings. Mazur (2020) observed that there is no universally agreed position on an issue when interpreted religiously or culturally. Although concepts such as morality and the general good for all are highly emphasized in the workplace, conflicts are typical due to differing opinions. Organizations that base their workplace values and ethics on Christian perspectives are also likely to make employees from other religions uncomfortable. Discomfort increases dissatisfaction, reduces employee motivation, and hampers work-life balance (Corporate Chaplains of America, 2022). Employees may also be unable to interact with their colleagues freely, hampering teamwork and interprofessional collaboration. Eventually, employees’ performance might decline and trigger a proportional decline in the organization’s productivity.
Human resource managers play a critical role in assessing employee performance and addressing workplace issues related to employees. As an HR representative, I have several legal and ethical responsibilities to ensure all employees’ views and beliefs are considered. From a legal dimension, HR representatives should be centrally involved in formulating workplace policies that condemn religious intolerance. Despite the workplace being founded on Christianity, other religious views should be allowed to thrive if they promote a cohesive workplace. As Etherington (2019) stated, organizations that promote religious tolerance benefit from better employee relationships and comfort. From an ethical dimension, I must promote inclusivity and respect for diverse values in the workplace.
Corporate Chaplains of America. (2022). Top 6 factors that cause employee job dissatisfaction. https://chaplain.org/news/2021/top-6-factors-that-cause-employee-job-dissatisfaction/
Etherington, M. (2019). Religion as a workplace issue: A narrative inquiry of two people—One Muslim and the other Christian. SAGE Open, 9(3), 2158244019862729. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2158244019862729
Mazur, B. (2020). Organizational culture under religious influence. IntechOpen. doi: 10.5772/intechopen.90898
There are also many situations in which a person’s religious practices, beliefs, and perspectives permeate the workplace. Non-Christians if the holiday celebration is labeled as a Christmas celebration, if the work adheres only to Christian holidays, or if the work schedule conflicts with the employee’s own religious adherence. Think about how the employees feel. In addition to this discriminatory behaviour, there is retaliation by managers for employees seeking religious accommodation and colleagues who make derogatory statements based on religion. While there is a legal framework in which employers must address these issues, there is also the ability to provide a welcoming and comprehensive workplace as a key factor in attracting and retaining talented people (Hatzis,). 2019). Employers now recognize the importance of creating a work environment where differences are respected and treated to be embraced. Diversity, resources and inclusive programs, including staff training, need to address spiritual differences among other aspects of assortment. Recognize, recognize and respect a wide range of religious and non-religious beliefs, making it clear that it is the responsibility of all employees.
Of course, employers are obliged to make reasonable efforts to respond to the sincere religious beliefs of all employees. Concession may include opportunities to pray, observe holy days, and even convert and distribute literature. Discrimination is based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, if the employer fails to reasonably submit the worker, or if the worker is required to abandon or adopt religious practices. , Or when forced to abandon spiritual practices. Due to employment or acceptance of quid pro quo, or exposure to unwelcome manners or behaviors based on religion, the working environment is so serious or prevalent that individuals perceive it as hostile or abusive (Grossman, 2018). As a result, employers are increasingly strict with the obligation to consider the religious beliefs of one or more employees and the commitment to prevent harassment and create a hostile work environment for others. Leaders need to balance their obligations to become.
Grossman, R. J. (2018). Religion at work. SHRM; SHRM. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/Pages/Religion-at-Work.aspx
Hatzis, N. (2019). Personal religious beliefs in the workplace: How not to define indirect discrimination. The Modern Law Review, 74(2), 287–305. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.2011.00847.x