Ask DiversityInc: How Does Your Company Handle Religious Holidays

Q: How do other organizations allow their employees to handle holiday decorations and celebrations We want to allow people to tastefully decorate/celebrate and we also want to make sure that we are not offending people.


A:Before we answer this question directly, we’d first like to address the issue of religion in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination based on religion, national origin, race, color or sex. Companies abide by this policy, but the more progressive ones create inclusive environments in which employees are encouraged to integrate their mandated religious practices into their day-to-day jobs. This helps companies build loyalty, raise morale and productivity, and reduce one of the hidden costs of ignoring religious diversity: absenteeism.

  • Nine years ago, only 42 percent of theDiversityInc Top 50had floating religious holidays, compared with 74 percent in 2011 and 78 percent in 2012. Sixty-six percent of all participants in the 2012 DiversityInc Top 50 survey had floating religious holidays. To put these statistics into perspective, a “Religion and Corporate Culture Survey Report” by the Society of Human Resource Management found that just 28 percent of 513 respondents offered paid leave for days that are not part of their regular holiday calendar.
  • Seventy percent of the DiversityInc Top 50 companies have onsite religious accommodations, such as prayer rooms, compared with 32 percent eight years ago.
  • Twenty-eight percent of the DiversityInc Top 50 companies have religion-basedresource groupsversus just 5 percent eight years ago.

For more information on religion in the workplace, visit BestPractices.DiversityInc.com to read “Best Practices on Religiously Inclusive Workplaces.”

These statistics are important when it comes to handling holiday celebrations. Official holidays in the United States are predominantly Christian. This means that most of the holiday celebrations will be of Christian background. Celebrating other religions during this time can get tricky. Religious holidays should be good educational opportunitieswe value differences instead of homogenizing them. So celebratingand offering cultural-competence trainingon religious holidays is critically important. Here are some suggestions to ensure your company’s holiday celebrations are inclusive of all religions and run smoothly.

Proactively Accommodate

Some issues are constants, such as wearing religious attire or the need for time off for observance. Other issues, such as celebrations, occur once or twice a year. Thinking through what policies will work for your organization and making sure all employees know which accommodations are available before they have to ask are critical.

Implement a Process & Clarify It

Employees are often uncomfortable asking for what they need. Implement a process for requesting celebrations and make it clear. Train managers to respond to requests appropriately and make sure everyone knows HR is a resource.

Get Help

If you have areligious resource group, utilize it to educate your employees about all religions. If you don’t have a religious resource group, go to the one place that is sure to have people from different religious backgrounds: your other resource groups. Bounce ideas/requests off of members and gain valuable insights.

AtAmerican Express, No. 14 inThe 2012 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity, there are longstanding religious groups for Christians, Jews andMuslims. All three groups are encouraged to educate their colleagues about their culture and share their traditions. The groups host events around the holidays. While the company has no formal policy regarding office decorations, all employees are encouraged to express themselves in a manner that is respectful of those around them.

Surveys

Use surveys to gain critical feedback on implementing or expanding celebrations. Incorporate questions specific to religious celebrations in your diversity surveys. Gather, analyze and share responses with key stakeholders and constituencies.

Latest News

Humana

Humana, Quantified Ventures, and Volunteers of America Partner to Establish First of Its Kind Health Outcomes Fund

Originally published on Humana.com  The new fund will help Volunteers of America sustainably scale Family Focused Recovery program operations to provide comprehensive services to mothers with substance use disorder and their children Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) today re-confirms its commitment to provide innovative models of care for families through a…

AOC celebrates a victory in Among Us during her Twitch stream

AOC Livestreamed ‘Among Us’ on Twitch to Encourage Everyone (but Particularly Young People) to Vote

New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is stepping up Democratic efforts to make sure young voters are prepared when heading to the polls on Election Day, especially in light of COVID-19. On Oct. 21, 2020, AOC livestreamed on Twitch to engage with the younger demographic that frequents the video game-centric…

Black Lives Matter face mask for preventing spread of COVID-19

BLM T-shirts and Trump Masks Cause Uproar at Early Polling Locations; New Credit Cards Allow Trans Individuals to Use Preferred Name; and More

BLM T-shirts and Trump masks cause uproar at early polling locations. Voters’ choice of clothing when heading to the polls in Florida and Tennessee has begun making headlines across the country. The Washington Post reported that Miami police officer Daniel Ubeda has come under fire for wearing a Trump-endorsing face…

Enjoy Chic Comfort at the Newly Opened Hilton Mall of Istanbul

Originally published on Hilton.com Hilton Mall of Istanbul, located within Turkey’s largest shopping and entertainment center, offers 175 guest rooms including 14 suites, extensive conference facilities and easy access from the new Istanbul Airport Today Hilton Mall of Istanbul opens its doors to guests. The world-class 175-room hotel, located within the same…

Close-up image of COVID-19 virus

Black and Latinx Individuals Increasingly Worried About Impact of COVID-19 on Career; Potential Spike in New Disabilities Due to Pandemic; and More

More than 50% of Blacks and Latinx individuals significantly worried about finances and career prospects due to pandemic. COVID-19 continues to be top of mind for most of the country, especially as cases appear to be worsening in our current third wave of the illness. But a new survey of…

Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.)

Rep. Jahana Hayes Attacked in Racist Campaign Town Hall; 1 in 4 Americans Unemployed According to New Data from Axios; and More

Racist trolls interrupt Zoom town hall hosted by Jahana Hayes, Connecticut’s first Black congresswoman. “I am not OK,” wrote Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) in a moving post describing a violent attack that took place at one of her recent campaign events. Ten minutes into the Zoom town hall for one…