Religious Events Affecting the Workplace – 5 Essentials

Workplace Religious Discrimination

Please refer to our online diversity calendar for a complete listing of religious events affecting the workplace.

In the United States, religion and the workplace are becoming increasingly intertwined. More workers expect their religious beliefs and practices be accommodated in the workplace, days off to celebrate holidays, and time during the workday to practice religious beliefs.

Lack of awareness of these differing religious events can lead to disrespect, discrimination, employee turnover and costly lawsuits.

In most of the world, these accommodations have long been common.  Most countries have populations with a dominant religion. Religious practices are reflected in many aspects of the country’s life, including the workplace, public holidays, and societal values.

To help ensure workplace religious freedom and respect, is to you must ensure your employees are aware of the key events surrounding these top 5 religions.

Christianity: Although subtle or even taken for granted, Christianity is the main religious influence on U.S. business. Christianity is the #1 religion, both in the US and worldwide. It represents about 70% of religious practitioners in the US, and 33% globally.

The two main Christian holidays are

  • Easter, floating holiday
  • Christmas, a fixed holiday, always on December 25

These holidays result in the almost complete closings of business in the United States, and in predominantly Christian countries or regions.

In non-U.S. regions where Christianity is the dominant religion – such as Western Europe – the days after Easter and Christmas are also celebrated with most businesses closed.

Judaism – It’s the second-largest religion in the United States. For observant Jews, several events require absence from work. These include:

  • first two days of Passover (floating, varies yearly)
  • Rosh Hashanah (floating )
  • Yom Kippur (floating )
  • first two days of Sukkoth (floating)

To find out this year’s dates for floating holidays, please refer to online diversity calendar. Observant Jews may request time off on other days associated with these holidays or others. In Israel, business is usually disrupted

  • for 7-8 days during Passover
  • during Hanukkah (floating)

Read part 2 of this article for Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu events affecting the workplace.

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