You have recently hired a new employee who is skilled and experienced and has a Muslim background. He has requested he be granted time to conduct his prayer duty which is 5 times a day and a place to do it.
Current policy allows employees 2 fifteen minute breaks (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and a 30 minute lunch period. Your company also recognizes Easter, Hanukkah, and Christmas as holidays.
What should you do, given current practices and policy that will not precipitate problems with the remaining staff?
In two different paragrahp with not less than 75 words give your personal opinion to Matthew Chandler and
Working with a diverse group of employees is very beneficial to any workforce. The only disadvantage can arise when leadership is not ready to celebrate the differences or employees allow the differences to separate the workforce. I have actually encountered this very situation as an administrator. It’s incredibly important to handle situations like this very delicately. As you don’t want the uninvolved employee’s to feel like one group is getting special attention and the affected employees to feel you value their religious beliefs.
The first move I made was to grab our handbook to check our policy and procedures, I would do the same in this situation. Realizing I would have to break policy I would make it clear to all employees policy is being revised. I would get with all employees that acknowledge this holy time and grant them time to pray on a schedule to assure coverage, while allowing them 5 breaks for prayer. Any major pushback must be addressed and considered. However by law accommodations must be made for religious beliefs.
SHRM. (2015). Accommodating religion, belief, and spirituality in the workplace. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/accommodating-religion,-belief-and-spirituality-in-the-workplace.aspx
This could be a sticky situation for various reasons. You definitely want to allow your new employee the time to conduct his prayer, but you also do not want it to come across as playing favorites or allowing him certain opportunities that you are not allowing other employees. I think there is a simple solution to this. Depending on the amount of time each prayer takes, combine all breaks and lunches and allow him to use that hour throughout the day to accomplish his rituals. If an hour would not be a sufficient amount of time, then there would have to be some negotiating occur. Maybe recommend that he come in early, or stay a little later to make sure he is accruing his work hours, but also that he isn’t cutting into the day and getting paid more, or receiving more breaks than other employees. I do believe this would be an easy fix and something the company could allow. This all comes down to equal opportunity for every employee in the company. Being able to work with your employees and provide them with the time needed for prayer or other religious holidays is just another way to show that you care about your people. Employees that feel that they are cared about are shown to work harder, and shown to enjoy the environment in which they live in.
Longest, B. B. (2016). Health policymaking in the United States. Chicago, Illinois: Health Administration Press ; Arlington, Virginia.