Boss Bringing Up Religion During Evaluation

Question To Ask the Workplace Doctors about her/his religion.

Is it against the law for a boss to ask me if I am a Christian, And do I believe in Jesus, during a yearly review?

Signed, Am I ???

Dear Am I ???:

The important thing for you is not to think of this only in terms of the law, but of a boss-employee relationship. Don’t assume that the question is intended to do you harm. Likely it is well motivated. However, you can candidly respond to your boss, “Thank you for asking. I’m sure you mean well by asking, but I’m here to work and I will do my best whether I am a Christian or not.”

The short answer to your question is: It is against the law if you are employed in a workplace that has 15 or more employees. Employers should not ask such questions of job applicants and of their employees. Why? Because, such a question implies that favoritism or unfavorable discrimination could be based on one’s answer. For example, should the boss be a devout Evangelical Christian, she/he might treat an those employees differently from those who answer Yes  from those who answer is, “No, I am Muslim” or No, I am an atheist” or “No, I am a Jew.”

For more information you can learn more about the law, in particular Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 by accessing: http://www.eeoc.gov/types/religion.html I have copied relevant sections of this act. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. Title VII covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments.

It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.

· Employers may not treat employees or applicants more or less favorably because of their religious beliefs or practices – except to the extent a religious accommodation is warranted. For example, an employer may not refuse to hire individuals of a certain religion, may not impose stricter promotion requirements for persons of a certain religion, and may not impose more or different work requirements on an employee because of that employee’s religious beliefs or practices.

· Employees cannot be forced to participate — or not participate — in a religious activity as a condition of employment. · Employers must permit employees to engage in religious expression, unless the religious expression would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Generally, an employer may not place more restrictions on religious expression than on other forms of expression that have a comparable effect on workplace efficiency.

You can learn for than you ever wanted to know about how Title VII applies by studying the Questions and Answers: Religious Discrimination in the Workplacehttp://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/qanda_religion.html I wish you the best in your workplace. Don’t allow this issue to be a matter of gossip or to sour you on your boss. Working together with hand, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Now that if this has occurred let it pass unless in fact you find that it is a basis for mistreatment.

William Gorden