My west coast colleague, Allison West, Esq. SPHR, will be tackling this issue in a webinar on June 19, 2012. In a nutshell, she’ll be covering:
Religious and political discussions can be difficult to avoid in the workplace, especially in a presidential election year. And because such discussions can invoke strong reactions, employers struggle with how much to allow — or rein in — without violating employees’ rights. So, what can an employer do to avoid legal landmines?
Timely, right? If you are interested, here is the link to sign up.
To really drive home the importance of knowing the potential pitfalls when it comes to religion at work, earlier this month a jury awarded $5 million to a single plaintiff. Susan Bashir worked for a division of AT&T. When she started working, she was Christian. A few years later she converted to Muslim. Her work environment was not hospitable, to say the least. Managers and coworkers called her a terrorist and other pejorative names. They made fun of her hijab and her manager even tried to pull it off her head. She complained, but to no avail and she was eventually fired (retaliation anyone?).
The jury was quick to rule in her favor. Actual damages were $120,00. But the punitives? An additional $5 million. [Hat tip Allison West]
If you read this blog you probably know what I am about to say. Train your employees, especially managers!