Employers Increasingly Accommodate Religion in the Workplace

July 31, 2006

Source: The News Journal


On July 31, 2006 The News Journal reported, "Lunchtime Bible study groups, flexible hours that allow Jewish employees to leave early Friday in time to light Sabbath candles and Muslim employees to leave work for Friday afternoon prayers and on-site meditation rooms: These days more employers are accommodating religious practices.

They're responding to a growing number of workers seeking to meld workplace responsibilities with religious observance.

Take Jamil Tourk, a New Castle resident who works as operations manager for a company that owns fast-food restaurants. Tourk, a Muslim, is required to pray five times daily and attend a worship at his mosque on Friday afternoons. In the five years he's been with the company, which he did not want to name, Tourk has prayed in the office with his employer's approval.

He has a longstanding agreement with the boss that he can attend Friday prayer services. He either comes in early or stays late to make up the time. Tourk says the key was having an open discussion about his religious needs.

'They understand my religion, and they know I pray. There's a relationship there,' he says of his employers... While a 2002 study by Human Resource Executive magazine found only 10 percent of companies said they had a formal religion accommodation policy, and only one in five said they allowed meetings in the workplace for prayer or religious purposes, Weber and other experts sense an increasing number of employers are becoming more accepting of religious expression on the job."