We Are Rich In the Gift of Our Diverse Society


This time of year, more than any other, presents us with the opportunity to celebrate the contributions to our society from a multitude of cultures around the world. Whether we wish one another Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, or Happy Kwanza, we are rich in our varying traditions.

The benefit of this richness is sometimes diminished by the issues it raises for employers in accommodating those differences. Recent news reports claim an uptick in religious discrimination claims in the workplace. For example, the EEOC filed suit in August against JBS Swift & Co. claiming the company had discriminated against Muslim employees by failing to provide reasonable accommodations for Muslim employees who wished to pray during their breaks. The suit also claims the company fired employees for requesting that their evening breaks be rescheduled to sundown during the holy month of Ramadan so they could break their fast and pray. This time of year, when so many cultures’ celebrations converge, is a good time to reflect on how to prevent religious discrimination claims.

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