PRAYER MEETINGS IN THE WORKPLACE « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


More on Accommodating Employees’ Religious Beliefs

As our planet’s civilizations and cultures continue to combine and intertwine, the importance of workplace respect for diverse religious backgrounds also grows.  For the increasing number of business owners and managers that seek to include or permit religious prayer sessions or other observances on the work premises, an understanding of an employer’s obligations to reasonably accommodate the practices of diverse religious backgrounds is vital.

We have recently covered an aspect of accommodating religion in the workplace. Accommodating Religion in the Workplace: Avoid the Employment Discrimination Gallows. Employer sponsored or permitted prayer sessions or observances can present other, similar issues. Among probable best practices are:

  • Written policy or notices should be clear that attendance is optional.  Participation or non-participation will have no impact on an employee’s status.  Individual attendance at such events should not be noted;
  • Policy should also provide any employee with an immediate, direct means for reporting in writing and for promptly resolving any instance where that worker perceives any sort of inappropriate imposition of religion against him or her in the workplace;
  • If company communication systems are used to send out notices about a company-approved or permitted religious meeting (email, notice boards, etc), employees should be able to promote other, similar types of events via those same systems; and
  • If the members of one religion can hold spiritual meetings or study sessions on company property, then policy and practice should permit the employee/adherents of other religions the same opportunity and under the same standards. It is common sense that such sessions should be outside working hours and that no such activity should be permitted to disrupt the company’s production or any worker’s ability and access to perform his/her work duties.

Religious practice in the workplace can be a complex, sensitive topic.  Consult an experienced labor law attorney for assistance in implementing policies concerning the issues.