American Turban

Respecting diversity in workplace also good for employers

California Assembly Member Mariko Yamada with members of the community in support of proposed California Workplace Religious Freedom Act (source: Sikh Coalition)

California Assembly Member Mariko Yamada with members of the community in support of proposed California Workplace Religious Freedom Act (source: Sikh Coalition)

David Briggs, of the Association of Religion Data Archives, writes an article about the benefits to employers when respecting religious diversity in the workplace. Often, employers are reluctant to acknowledge their employees’ faith in the workplace, but Briggs suggests that this may have a negative affect on productivity and morale:

Researchers say more studies need to be done, but past work showing positive relations between faith and better physical and mental health indicate those same benefits could extend from factory floors to office cubicles.

…A “diversity mindset” is important for organizations to enable people of varying beliefs to feel valued in the workplace, George Cunningham of Texas A&M University said about the practical implications of his research in the Social Justice Research journal.

Overall, Baylor’s Park says, research on the significant relationship between faith and work should encourage employers to “respect the seriousness with which some workers take their faith,” and to consider acknowledging that part of their lives.

For Sikhs, this issue is of particular concern, as our religious articles of faith are often not accommodated to the extent of segregation and discrimination in the workplace.  As previously mentioned on this blog, California’s Sikh community is lobbying in support of a bill proposed by Assembly Member Mariko Yamada called the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (AB 1964), which provides for accommodation of religious articles such as the turban and uncut hair in the workplace.

As David Briggs indicates, such accommodation would benefit employers as well.

If you are a California resident, ask your State Senator to support AB1964 by filling out the Sikh Coalition petition.

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