A framework for accommodating religion and spirituality in the workplace

In 2011, the number topped at 4151 complaints, but has steadily declined since, with the most recent number (FY 2013) at 3721.[2] Much of the increase represents a backlash against Muslims and Sikhs in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Some may be explained by an increased awareness of rights and the channels for redressing wrongs.

Washing stations, used before prayer, have at times been supplied by employers.

On Fridays the mid-day prayer is communal, so many Muslims need time to visit the local mosque.

Douglas Hicks (a Pluralism Project affiliate), in his landmark study (Cambridge University Press, 2003) offers a moral argument for the framework of respectful pluralism that “allows employees to express, within constraints to be outlined, their religious as well as political, cultural, spiritual, and other commitments within the workplace.

In addition, no religious tradition should receive undue institutional preference or priority.”[4] He offers a critique of institutionally sponsored workplace spirituality (and civil religion) as follows: Civil religion and workplace spirituality each shift the institutional locus of religious expression from the church, synagogue, or mosque to another public institution- the state or the company respectively.

The workplace is obviously a site that is impacted by religious diversity and it is well known that issues of religious diversity in the workplace are becoming more prominent.

Many Muslims individually pray five times per day, so some of these times will fall during the working hours.

Prayer involves kneeling and facing towards Mecca; some employers have been able to accommodate the need for specific prayer space.

For some Muslim women, the wearing of a religious headscarf () has brought repercussions in the workplace.

Legal redress has been sought for a variety of cases concerning the right to this religious attire: by a Pennsylvania policewoman who was barred from wearing on the job, by an applicant who was denied a uniformed airline job, and by an Arizona woman working for a rental car company.

A framework for accommodating religion and spirituality in the workplace