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 to be accommodated in the workplace, to be given days off to celebrate holidays, and to be allowed 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, you must ensure your employees are aware of the key events surrounding various religions. Here are some of the most popular ones.
Popular Religious Events
Christianity is the main religious influence on U.S. businesses. Christianity is the world’s largest and most widespread religion with roughly 2.4 billion followers. It represents about 70% of religious practitioners in the US, and 33% globally.
The two main Christian holidays are:
These religious events result in the almost complete closings of businesses 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.
23% of the world’s popular practices Islam. Work schedules can significantly be affected by Islamic religious events and holidays. This can also have profound effects on how and when business is done. This is especially true of:
- Eid al-Fitr
- Eid al-Adha
Friday prayer is obligatory and is held during the early afternoon. Since the Regular Islamic practices that should be accommodated on a daily basis include time and space for daily prayers and washing before prayer.
It’s the second-largest religion in the United States. For observant Jews, several events require absence from work. These religious events include:
- The first two days of Passover
- Rosh Hashanah
- Yom Kippur
- first two days of Sukkoth
Some other prohibitions include traveling (except on foot), writing, using electricity or a telephone, and performing transactions of a commercial nature (i.e., buying and selling).
The most popular Indian religion has many holidays, which reflects its extremely diverse culture. Major holidays may require some flexible scheduling for employees to celebrate appropriately. These religious events include:
While Asian holidays often fall on weekends, there may be some times that employees request regular work days or hours off. In China, Vietnam, South Korea, Cambodia, and Thailand, New Year celebrations see many businesses and government offices closing for a few weeks. Some holidays may require you to offer flexible scheduling, including:
- Bodhi Day
- Buddha’s Birth
To find out this year’s dates for moveable religious events, try out our Online Diversity Calendar.
Religious Events FAQs
What are some examples from the workplace of religious expression?
Examples of religious expression in the workplace can include wearing religious attire (e.g., headscarves or turbans), displaying religious symbols, observing prayer rituals, requesting time off for religious holidays, or engaging in discussions about one’s faith during appropriate contexts.
What is an example of a religious conflict in the workplace?
A common example of a religious conflict in the workplace is when scheduling conflicts arise due to employees needing time off for religious observance, leading to tensions with colleagues who may have to cover their duties. These conflicts can also occur if certain workplace policies or practices clash with an employee’s religious beliefs, such as dress codes that restrict religious attire.
What are 5 examples of religious practices?
Five examples of religious practices can encompass daily prayers, dietary restrictions (e.g., kosher or halal diets), fasting during specific times, attending religious services, and participating in religious festivals or rituals.
How does religion impact the workplace?
Religion can significantly impact the workplace by influencing employees’ behaviors, interactions, and needs. It can foster diversity and inclusion when accommodated appropriately but may also lead to conflicts if not managed well. Employers must navigate religious accommodations, address potential biases or discrimination, and create an environment that respects various beliefs to ensure a harmonious and productive workplace.