Benefits Of Accepting Religion and Beliefs In The Workplace

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There is plenty of confusion about the place of religion and religious beliefs within the workplace. Employers are concerned about what practices they can and cannot allow, whether they will be accused of discrimination and offend their employees.

This confusion amongst employers and often negative reports within the media have led to employees keeping their religion or their beliefs hidden, according to an exercise that was undertaken by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Problems occur when through lack of understanding or knowledge, decisions are made that then are seen as discriminatory. This simply means someone is treated differently and less favourably because of their belief or practising their religion.

Practices within the workplace such as recruitment, promotions or requesting annual leave should have clear policies explaining the selection process upon which leave is granted, promotion is given or a candidate selected for a role. This helps to create a culture of openness and respect. In addition, having a statement on Dignity at Work tells employees how they can expect to be treated within an organisation and what to do if this is not the case.

But having policies in place is not enough, this needs to be supported and embedded by training. The training can deal with items of clothing, religious jewellery, time off to practice religion. The training helps to understand what is reasonable for that business and the role an individual carries out. For e.g. it may be appropriate to prohibit any jewellery or particular clothing due to health and safety reasons.

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