Is There A Place For Religious Conviction in Business?
May.28.2017 Business Resources
Many private employers have deeply held religious convictions that influence every part of their lives, including their business. Consequently, corporate culture often reflects the morality fostered by the business owner’s religious beliefs, creating the potential for conflict with employees.
As Christian business owners and leaders, many fear that they are not complying with “the separation of Church and State” issues placed on us by our government.
The main area that can trip up the Christian business owner or leader is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law is not designed to keep our faith out of the business. Instead, it is written to forbid discrimination in hiring, compensation, and promotions based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Our responsibility as Christian business owners and leaders is to comply with this law in a straight-forward manner. So, how do we do this?
The following material from the C12 Group answers this question well:
General Guidelines For Compliance
Owners and managers are able to communicate their religious beliefs through company policies, practices, and witnessing if they stick to the following simple guidelines:
- Don’t give current or prospective employees the perception that employment or advancement requires workers to adopt a certain religious belief.
- Accommodate employee objections and provide equal opportunity of expression and use of resources/facilities (unless incompatible with stated company core principles).
- Don’t require employees to participate in worship.
Building a unified team while avoiding legal issues
- Always be clear in communicating and reinforcing the core principles of the firm
- Recruit & interview employees with these principles firmly in view
- Ask candidates how they will contribute in such an environment; hire accordingly
- Hold all your people accountable for abiding by these core principles
- Give everyone committed to achieving these core principles an equal opportunity to be hired, developed, promoted, and compensated
- Maintain a policy requiring internal disputes to be resolved according to a clearly defined conflict resolution process with the ‘final step’ being third party mediation or arbitration
Regardless of the consequences here on earth, we will continue to bear witness of our faith as well as we are able. Given the current ethics crises in the business world, employers should be sure that their business reflects sound religious ethics like integrity, courtesy, and charity. For more information on this important topic, consider these resources.
- Several Christ-centered legal organizations offer websites, publications, help lines, and legal counsel to defend Christian freedom in the workplace. These resources include:
- Alliance Defense Fund (www.alliancedefensefund.org): Pamphlet – The Truth behind Faith in the Workplace.
- American Center for Law & Justice (www.aclj.org): Wonderfully informative website, Pamphlet – Workplace Rights
- Pacific Justice Institute(www.pacificjustice.org): Pamphlet – Reclaim Your Workplace
- Christian Legal Society (www.clsnet.org): Christian lawyer referral service
- Peacemakers Ministries (www.peacemaker.net): Christian conciliation services, and helpful teaching and discipling materials applicable to workplace, churches and homes.