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Bible Reading Receptionist California

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  • #31
    Originally posted by mitousmom View Post
    Let's say the receptionist was a Wiccan and was sitting at her receptionist's desk reading the Book of Shadows, the religious text of the Wicca, which has a big Pentagram on the front. [Wicca is an accepted bona fide religion recognized by the Courts and the federal government.] Would you all have the same view?
    I would. A newspaper, Bible, or Mein Kampf are all legal reading if the employer permits reading on the job.

    If the employer does not permit reading on the job at all, then the equation is different. The employer cannot pick and choose what reading material is allowed.
    Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

    Comment


    • #32
      OK, why not offer the receptionist an online college course to take while at work. Then you know she'll be reading college books instead of anything else...

      Basically, instead of saying she can not read X, you are saying that her job is to read Y and skirting the whole issue altogether because she won't have time to read X anymore.

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by ScottB View Post
        If the employer does not permit reading on the job at all, then the equation is different. The employer cannot pick and choose what reading material is allowed.
        Of course an employer can do just that. It controls the terms and conditions of employment. If you don't like its rules, you don't have to work there. Employees don't have a right, constitutional or statutory, to read or do whatever they want on the job. An employer can tell you what to wear, how to act, how to talk, etc. when you are in its employ. Its restrictions are based on law, regulations, contract, etc. I'm not aware of any law that gives employees the right or permission to read whatever they want on the job or that prevents an employer for deciding what its employees can read at work or what they can display on its property.

        And, while you may not want to accept it, Title VII treats harassment based on sex, national orign, race, age, etc. as it does harassment based on religion. Reading or having on display sexually or racially harassing material is no different than reading or displaying religiously harassing material. You believe, because of your views on the importance and sacredness of the Bible, that it should have special status. The whole point of the religious discrimination prohibition is that it doesn't.

        And, because of your views on the Bible, you can't understand or accept that others might find its display offensive, unwelcome or intimidating. However, it's been my experience that many people do and many of those who do have been fellow Christians.

        If the receptionist can't get through a work day without reading the Bible, she needs to read the necessary passages on break or at lunch. Some employers allow smoke breaks; maybe she can ask for a Bible reading break. If she can't survive without the Bible near her, she needs to keep it near, but out of sight.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by mitousmom View Post
          Of course an employer can do just that. It controls the terms and conditions of employment. If you don't like its rules, you don't have to work there. Employees don't have a right, constitutional or statutory, to read or do whatever they want on the job. An employer can tell you what to wear, how to act, how to talk, etc. when you are in its employ. Its restrictions are based on law, regulations, contract, etc. I'm not aware of any law that gives employees the right or permission to read whatever they want on the job or that prevents an employer for deciding what its employees can read at work or what they can display on its property.

          And, while you may not want to accept it, Title VII treats harassment based on sex, national orign, race, age, etc. as it does harassment based on religion. Reading or having on display sexually or racially harassing material is no different than reading or displaying religiously harassing material. You believe, because of your views on the importance and sacredness of the Bible, that it should have special status. The whole point of the religious discrimination prohibition is that it doesn't.

          And, because of your views on the Bible, you can't understand or accept that others might find its display offensive, unwelcome or intimidating. However, it's been my experience that many people do and many of those who do have been fellow Christians.

          If the receptionist can't get through a work day without reading the Bible, she needs to read the necessary passages on break or at lunch. Some employers allow smoke breaks; maybe she can ask for a Bible reading break. If she can't survive without the Bible near her, she needs to keep it near, but out of sight.
          That is incorrect.

          There is also specific caselaw stating that other employees being uncomfortable is not sufficient cause to take action against an employee bringing relgious items in to the workplace.


          Religious Discrimination

          Direct Evidence. The agency adopted a policy prohibiting the display of all non-postal material, specifically "anything that may be construed as sexual material or of a religious matter." The agency removed personal religious items from the work area of complainant, whom the Commission found had a sincerely held religious belief (Christian). The Commission found that the ban on all religious material was a violation of Title VII. Finding direct evidence of religious discrimination, the Commission found that the policy and written notice were promulgated in response to complainant's displays of religious materials. The Commission noted that the only justification for the agency's action was that other employees were "uncomfortable" with complainant's actions. The Commission further found that the agency had failed to meet its burden of showing that it would have taken the same measures absent discrimination. As part of the remedy ordered, the Commission directed the agency to rescind its ban on the display of religious items at work stations, absent a showing of changed circumstances currently warranting a uniform ban. The Commission also ordered the agency to advise complainant of his right to seek compensatory damages. Ritchie v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 01995957 (August 27, 2002).


          Source:

          http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/digest/xiv-1.html#religious

          Comment


          • #35
            The decision you cite is one issued by EEOC's Office of Federal Operations, which enforces the EEO laws for the federal government, not the private sector. The interpretations and enforcement rules are different in the federal sector. This employer is private. (I should also note that the decision in question was issued by the Director of the Office of Federal Operations, not by the full Commission and doesn't carry the same precedent setting weight as a Commission decision.)

            Secondly, the employee's religion in Ritchie required him to testify or witness and his displays were a part of that religious activity. If that's the case, the employer must attempt to accommodate the expression of the religious belief, unless doing so is an undue hardship.

            Comment


            • #36
              Bears, the "advice" you offered earlier is acceptable since it takes the form of alternate suggestions on how to solve the problem and not a step-by-step, "do this exactly as I say and then come back for me to tell you what to do next". See the difference?

              Funny, I was wondering if we'd even be having this conversation if the receptionist had been reading the Koran or the Book of Mormon. For some reason, I've found that most people are extremely tolerate of other people's rights when it comes to religions that are not Christianity.
              The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

              Comment


              • #37
                Do we even know if the receptionist is a Christian? Could she be a Wiccan simply reading the Bible for research ... or a Hindu, or a Muslim. Just a thought ...

                Comment


                • #38
                  I have an ee who has a Book of Mormon on his desk. . Never seen him read it but I've seen it there. I never thought twice about it and I doubt anyone else has either. But, thats our culture in this office.

                  I am more concerned about the "religious themed" emails that go back and forth between various other employees...but thats another issue. (G)
                  I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
                  Thomas Jefferson

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                  • #39
                    Sorry, I can't help but chime in on this.

                    How about a book cover for the bible ($1.50 at the store or free if they recycle large paper)? If the employer is worried about reactions to the title of the book.... cover it up and let the woman read.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      cbg, can we close this now? Please?
                      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Since we appear to be going around in circles, perhaps that would be best.
                        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                        Comment

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