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Office religious diversity can lead to workplace discrimination

When Texas office atmospheres become more religiously diverse, the goal of employers is usually to foster a more inclusive environment. Unfortunately, studies suggest that the opposite can often happen. For example, a recent Tanenbaum Center survey indicates that having a workplace with employees of many religious backgrounds and beliefs can actually open the door to greater workplace discrimination. This conclusion has led researches to begin investigating further into this kind of workplace discrimination phenomenon.

Within the aforementioned surveys, there were several key surprises. One was that almost 60 percent of Caucasian protestants felt that their Christianity made them targets of workplace discrimination. Although Christianity makes up the majority of employees' religions in most American offices, Christians feel they remain singled out unfairly and discriminated against. This by no means overshadows other religious beliefs, such as those held by Muslims, which can also lead to workplace discrimination.

The discriminatory behavior on the part of employers does not have to be overt, either. For instance, being denied the ability or opportunity to pray when it is a part of one's religion can be considered workplace discrimination. Additionally, being unable to speak openly about one's beliefs for fear of retribution (e.g., being denied a raise, being refused the opportunity for advancement, being taunted by colleagues) could also be considered a form of this kind of discrimination.

The bottom line is that no Texas worker should be forced to feel that his or her religion will lead to workplace discrimination in any form. If it does, that worker has every right to seek to rectify the situation. In a country founded on the principles of freedom to worship (or not), workplace discrimination as a result of religious intolerance is unacceptable.

Source: Deseret News, Religious discrimination in the workplace increases with diversity, Matthew Brown, Sept. 2, 2013

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