Risk Management

How to Handle Religion at Workplace?

Though most industries or companies discuss the importance and necessity of having diversity at workplace, challenges or issues related to religious discrimination are on the rise worldwide. There are frequent instances or reports of discrimination at office premises that are purely based on biased viewpoints such as dress codes (like the headgear as mandated by certain religions).

In this podcast at Harvard Business Review, Business School Professor and Director of the Forum for Growth & Innovation, Derek van Bever brings forth two instances of religious bias that were presented before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Cases

This article is a transcript of the podcast featuring the talk between Derek van Bever and the interviewer Brian Kenny. It throws light on the two popular cases that highlight the issue of discrimination at office based on religious stances.

EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch

This case’s history dates to 2008 when a Muslim woman named Samantha Elauf was interviewed at Abercrombie kids store in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a sales job. Though the interview went very well and Elauf was considered for the next round, still she was turned down at the last moment. When Elauf tried to enquire, she was made to understand that the reason for rejection was the headscarf (Muslim women dress code) that she wore to the interview. Thus, a case was filed and presented to the U.S. Supreme Court six years later.

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado

This case has an equally shocking notion behind it. A gay couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, visited Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado to design their wedding cake. After discussing the details when Mr. Phillips realized that the cake is going to be for the gay couple, he refused the order as it violated his Christian beliefs. He considered himself to be an artist or a servant of his faith and was completely against same-sex relationships.

To hear the original podcast in full, click on the following link: https://hbr.org/podcast/2019/05/managers-are-you-prepared-to-handle-religion-in-the-workplace

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