Values, religion in the workplace

Perhaps you know some curmudgeon who constantly harps about America's eroding values. Well, rest assured that there's still hope - especially in the workplace. Values in the workplace are as important to Americans as salary, according to a recent Lutheran Brotherhood survey.

Almost 60 percent of Americans say it's very important for their values to be similar to those of their employer, and almost half of employees work for a company with values aligned with their own.

But all is not rosy in the workplace. A big point of contention: religion.

"Even though workplaces are generally more flexible today, religious faith can still be difficult to balance with work," says Gwen Kuhrt of Lutheran Brotherhood.

The survey found that 9 percent of Americans have been discouraged by their employers from taking time off for religious activities. Moreover, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 1,811 complaints about religious discrimination in fiscal 1999, up 30 percent from 1992.

To foster better religious understanding, a coalition of religious groups is calling for amendments to the Workplace Religious Freedom Act. The bill would strengthen the provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 whereby employers are required to accommodate the religious needs of employees as long as it wouldn't impose undue hardship on the businesses. The bill is under review by the House Subcommittee on Employer Relations.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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