A recent survey sound that almost 90 percent of American adults say that religion is either very important or fairly important in their lives. Since religion makes people happy and happy employees are better employees, it makes sense to combine the two. But before you start holding company sponsored prayer circles, make sure you understand when it crosses the line.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gives people the right to have their religious beliefs and practices accommodated in the workplace, within reasonable limits. So now the question is, what is considered reasonable?
This all depends on your company’s policy. If all-company emails are the norm, announcing anything from fundraisers to Girl Scout cookie sales, then emails about various prayer groups and religious meetups must also be allowed. If your practice, like most companies, chooses to limit all-company emails to only business related information, then you have every right to ask an employee to no longer send out emails, as the request is not based on faith or religion but rather about non-business use.
Another tricky part of this is who is sending the email. Problems may arise if it is sent from a supervisor to their subordinates. Employees could potentially see this as a form of pressure to join their supervisor’s group or even to believe in a specific religion.
This also depends on your practice’s policy. It is within your right to forbid private, non-work meetings or gathering on the premises during work hours. If you allow other non-work meetings to take place, then forbidding a religion related meeting can make you liable for religious discrimination.
While the first amendment protects religious speech, this type of discussion in the workplace is up to management’s discretion. Employees can be asked to stop sharing their faith in the workplace enough that it is beginning to seem as if they are proselytizing others and creating an uncomfortable environment. Any action that is seen as harassment can be stopped, as it is no longer protected.
While allowing religion in the workplace can be tricky, as long as you follow the law in combination with your predetermined policies it should work out fine.