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Take a Knee? Well, let's see!

There has been a lot in the news lately about NFL players taking a knee.  There are other ways that employees can take a knee at work too!  One of them is in prayer.  Is an employee taking a knee in prayer at work or asking others to join him/her in prayer at work something that should be allowed? 

SHRM has an interesting article about this that you should take time to read, if interested in learning more! 

A few take aways:

If employees are allowed to use company email, bulletin boards, etc. to discuss and/or solicit fellow employees to participate in personal issues, then the same treatment for something like a religious prayer group might be considered reasonable by an employee. 

On the other hand, the article suggests some practices that businesses may want to consider to proactively address this (and other similar issues). 

From SHRM - An Invitation to Prayer: Can Religious Gatherings at Work Cross the Line?  by Dana Wilkie and published on September 22, 2017:

Keeping It About Business

If, however, a company has a written policy that limits the use of company e-mail accounts to company business, the employee's supervisor can ask that e-mail not be used to invite co-workers to religious gatherings, wrote Chris Altizer on SHRM Connect.

"In that case, it's not about faith or religion or prayer, but about nonbusiness use of any kind," wrote Altizer, owner of Altizer Performance Partners LLC, a management consulting firm based in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. "If you have an unwritten rule that is generally followed, you can do the same thing. It's very possible to express appreciation for the sentiment [of a prayer group] without condoning it."

Employers may also want to discourage nonbusiness activities—including prayer gatherings—during business hours.

"Companies can forbid private, nonwork meetings and gatherings on work premises," Grim said. However, if they allow some nonwork meetings, then they would be liable for religious discrimination if they forbade only religion-related meetings.

"Nevertheless, any meeting that leads to or involves harassment or exclusion of others would not be accommodated. For instance, a women's empowerment meeting shouldn't forbid men from joining. Likewise, a prayer meeting shouldn't turn anyone away due to their beliefs—religious or otherwise." 

SHRM members can read more by copying/pasting the link below!

https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/employee-relations/Pages/religious-accommodations-.aspx

 

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