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drewj

Religous Counseling At Work

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Does anyone know if it is legal to provide religous counsel during work? for exsample another minister approaches you and shares an experience that is bothering them. is this ok? this did happen to me and my boss told me that I am not allowed to talk about religous things at work as it may offend others, earlier in the year he ordered me to remove religous photos from my desk. is this ok for him to do. oh ... i almost forgot the building we work in is still considered sacred ground as it was once a church and still has a cross at the top of it. :unsure:

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Does anyone know if it is legal to provide religous counsel during work? for exsample another minister approaches you and shares an experience that is bothering them. is this ok? this did happen to me and my boss told me that I am not allowed to talk about religous things at work as it may offend others, earlier in the year he ordered me to remove religous photos from my desk. is this ok for him to do. oh ... i almost forgot the building we work in is still considered sacred ground as it was once a church and still has a cross at the top of it. :unsure:

If you are living in an "at will" State (such as Ohio, where I live), you can be fired "for any reason".

While you are at work, your time "belongs to your employer".

If you have scheduled "breaks", you can probably engage in "small talk" with co-workers, but I would be very careful not to be discussing religious matters "where it might offend others". It is quite possible that "someone complained" to your boss about your conversation, and that your boss is intervening to quell someone else's upset.

Depending upon where you live, this could be perfectly legal.

With regard to your "sacred ground" claim, it is entirely bogus from a legal point of view. It is a religious concept, not a legal one. Remember, as far as Native Americans are concerned "this is ALL Sacred Ground" and all us non-Indians are trespassers and defilers.

So, unless you don't value your job, you should confine the religious discussions to your own time and/or somewhere that your boss isn't going to be hearing about it. He (or she) pays your wages, and owns your time (except for lunch and scheduled breaks).

If you and your friend want to have such discussions, do it over lunch (out of the building, and off the premises), or in your car, or after work.

This is just a word to the wise. It isn't smart to create conditions wherein your boss wants to be rid of you.

If that's what he (or she) wants, there is almost always some "legal reason" for doing it.

Edited by Hexalpa

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If you are living in an "at will" State (such as Ohio, where I live), you can be fired "for any reason".

Nope. No matter what state you live in, Federal law prohibits religious discrimination in hiring and firing practices.

More specific (and official) information about federal laws against religious discrimination can be found here.

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Nope. No matter what state you live in, Federal law prohibits religious discrimination in hiring and firing practices.

More specific (and official) information about federal laws against religious discrimination can be found here.

That's all well and good, but in "at will" States, an employer is NOT REQUIRED to state a reason for a firing.

An employer would be an ABSOLUTE FOOL to go on record and say "I fired him for religious reasons"

Edited by Hexalpa

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That's all well and good, but in "at will" States, an employer is NOT REQUIRED to state a reason for a firing.

An employer would be an ABSOLUTE FOOL to go on record and say "I fired him for religious reasons"

They wouldn't have to. Sexual harassers rarely admit anything, but sexual harassment suits are successfully litigated all the time. After all, if convicting someone of a crime required a confession, we wouldn't bother with judges and juries. And, most importantly, being able to get away with breaking the law does not make what you did legal- and the question asked was about legality.

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They wouldn't have to. Sexual harassers rarely admit anything, but sexual harassment suits are successfully litigated all the time. After all, if convicting someone of a crime required a confession, we wouldn't bother with judges and juries. And, most importantly, being able to get away with breaking the law does not make what you did legal- and the question asked was about legality.

Gosh, what a good point.

I guess Drew should just dare his boss to fire him,

secure in the knowledge that "lawsuits are won every day".

What spectacular advice! (Not.)

Yes, the question was about "legality", but a bit of "practicality" never hurts.

Drew may decide to act upon the information we provide.

It is the least we can do to point out to him

that the burden of proof may be his.

Edited by Hexalpa

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a little more info, the other minister is a ULC minister and he heard him say that our conversation was inappropriate. I am not trying to stir up trouble just trying to figure things out. I always believed that we have the constitutional right to speak publically.

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not when you're on private property.

Yes, he was right when he said not to have religious discussions at work, for the reasons he stated.

Right about asking you to remove religious momentos? mm..maybe. I wouldn't want to fight that. but since all the equipment is paid for by the employer, they'd have the right to say "no" just as they'd have the right to say no to a guy postin a pic of his hot girlfriend in her bikini.

As far as it being a former church...if the building is no longer used as a church, for religious purposes, that's irrelevant.

Don't tempt fate. Have your discussions in your off time.

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It has been my personal experience that it is never wise to discuss religion in the workplace. Unless of course you work at a church or something. But otherwise, it just causes more trouble than its worth. As far as legalities are concerned, I worked for the most racist, discrimitory man I've ever known for 7 yrs. If a manager wants you gone for a certain reason, he can always come up with one. Even if that was not his real reason. No employer is ever going to come right out and claim they are firing you because of your beliefs. He's going to wait till your late one day. Or your work isn't up to usual snuff. And then bingo your out the door.

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Hi drewj,

If you were not discussing issues that were "work related", my thought is that your boss does have a right to take issue with "religious discussions" in the workplace. I don't think that this is religious discrimination at all. It's simply not what they are paying you for

having said that, and if your interactions were appropriate; some people are just looking for trouble and if they think you're it, they'll try to get you

I had a friend and coworker a few years ago who wore a "Got Jesus" t-shirt in her work in the community. She was asked by the Directors not to do so. While I empathized with her, I thought it was the right decision.

I asked myself how I would feel if colleagues were discussing yoga and spirituality and a superior took issue; it would be the same, not appropriate for the workplace unless directly related to the work

I do think that asking you to remove religious pictures from your personal space is unfair,however.

respectfully, mm

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Hi

I am not sure any space assigned to you as work space can be interpreted as your "personal space".It seems to me it is still the business's space.They are paying the taxes and upkeep on it and they are just having you use that space for work. They can probably control how it is decorated. I am not a lawyer and this is just a guess. It will be interesting to hear what other members think.

Good Luck

jba

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Hi

I am not sure any space assigned to you as work space can be interpreted as your "personal space".

It seems to me it is still the business's space.They are paying the taxes and upkeep on it and they are just having you use that space for work. They can probably control how it is decorated. I am not a lawyer and this is just a guess. It will be interesting to hear what other members think.

Good Luck

jba

I think that you are absolutely right, jba.

Edited by Hexalpa

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A place I worked at would let christians have Sundays off for church but wouldn't let the NAs have time off for Indian dances. Which is unfair but I was living in the Bible Belt at the time. Sometimes even unfair is local custom and if you live/work there you need to take that into consideration too. I kept working there but another NA quit so he could make it to a Drumming Ceremony. He had to be there as part of the Chiefs family.

Edited by Theresa

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We like to think of Religious Freedom

as an absolute,

as an accomplished fact.

But the fact-of-the-matter is

that it is "a work in progress"

and will always be thus.

Edited by Hexalpa

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the "freedom of religion"people seem to scream about has nothing to do with an employeer(per say).it has to do with the prohibitation of the government establishing or supporting a relligion,period.

now,can an employeer get in trouble by supporting one religion(ie:sundays off for christians),but not other days for others?mabye.however,it takes more than"that's not fair".what planet do people live on where fair has anything to do with anything?

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my boss does not own the building or the company, he is my manager, there is a new ceo and he has not said anything one way or the other. The old ceo and I used to talk about everything under the sun even politics and religion. I have become accustomed to these types of talks over the years. my manager never said a word until the new ceo took over.

I have no intention of doing anything I was just wondering because my old ceo and i used to have religous and political conversations alot.

this situation made me think about when are we going to stop worrying about offending others, and just try to understand that we are all different and we should respect that we all have the right to worship who we want and where we want. i find many things offensive but i choose to respect others beliefs, and i try to treat others the way i want to be treated and to love my neighbor as i love myself.

was it peter who said to obey the laws and the emporer - and would peter have said that if the emporer said to ignore GOD or whoever you believe in?

maybe the human race should be praticing tolerance, acceptance, love, understanding, peace, & forgiveness instead of focusing on hate and avoidance?

Edited by drewj

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as the story goes,it was allegedly said by christ to the people asking him who they were supposed to obey.

as i remember,he is to have said"give to ceaser what belongs to him..."

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What spectacular advice! (Not.)
I gave no advice. I merely pointed out the facts.
Yes, the question was about "legality", but a bit of "practicality" never hurts.
Once you know that something is illegal, if you want to push the issue you go to a lawyer, who explains that sort of thing to you. Taking practical legal advice from random people on the internet is a bad idea. His ability to win a lawsuit will be based on many things, like the disposition of the judges who would have jurisdiction over a case he files, that someone outside the legal system couldn't possibly know. It is illegal to base firing decisions on an employees religion. The practical ramifications of this very simple and clear-cut fact are not know to me, nor to you.

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Yes, he was right when he said not to have religious discussions at work, for the reasons he stated.
It's not that simple. Not by a long shot. "Employers must permit employees to engage in religious expression, unless the religious expression would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Generally, an employer may not place more restrictions on religious expression than on other forms of expression that have a comparable effect on workplace efficiency." http://www.eeoc.gov/types/religion.html
Don't tempt fate. Have your discussions in your off time.
If he were complaining of sexual harassment, would you tell him to simply grin and bear it? Sometimes the paycheck is less valuable than what it takes to keep the job and you and I aren't really in a position to know how much his right to express his religion is worth to him. Edited by .·´¯`·.¸><(((º>

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It's not that simple. Not by a long shot. "Employers must permit employees to engage in religious expression, unless the religious expression would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Generally, an employer may not place more restrictions on religious expression than on other forms of expression that have a comparable effect on workplace efficiency." http://www.eeoc.gov/types/religion.html

If he were complaining of sexual harassment, would you tell him to simply grin and bear it? Sometimes the paycheck is less valuable than what it takes to keep the job and you and I aren't really in a position to know how much his right to express his religion is worth to him.

You have made some good points here, Splishy.

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