Prayer In The workplace

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Latest post Wed, Dec 20 2006 3:57 PM by RickInNoCal. 45 replies.
  • Sat, Dec 9 2006 12:38 AM

    Prayer In The workplace

    Can an employer forbid prayer in the workplace? Can an employer forbid prayer in one's car in the parking lot?
  • Sat, Dec 9 2006 4:23 AM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Prayer In The workplace

    “Can an employer forbid prayer in the workplace?”

    If the employer forbids all prayer, no matter what the religion, then the answer is yes. The law only requires employers to not discriminate on the basis of religion (i.e. show preference for employees practicing one religion over another). It does not require employers to allow religious activity in the workplace.

    “Can an employer forbid prayer in one's car in the parking lot?”

    If it is the employer’s parking lot, the employer can probably do that, too.
  • Sat, Dec 9 2006 4:24 AM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: Prayer In The workplace

    My answer assumes that the employer is a private entity. If the employer is a government agency, then the answers would be a bit different.
  • Sun, Dec 10 2006 10:56 AM In reply to

    • CdwJava
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    Feedback [*=*] re: Prayer In The workplace

    If you bow your head in quiet prayer for a few moments, how is your employer to know?

    If your manner of prayer is disruptive or takes you away from your job at a time not generally permitted by contract or work rules, then I can more easily understand the employer's reason for not allowing this prayer.

    - Carl
  • Mon, Dec 11 2006 11:02 AM In reply to

    What does this have to do with current legal events?

    No and no.

    However, an employer could legally prohibit certain actions (e.g., throwing down a prayer rug in the middle of a work floor and bowing to Allah). An employer could also prohibit audible prayer as disruptive to the work environment. An employer could also legally restrict prayer related activities to certain locations within the workplace.

    You are free to pray silently wherever and whenever you want.
  • Mon, Dec 11 2006 3:01 PM In reply to

    re: What does this have to do with current legal events?

    Where is the best forum for this topic?
  • Mon, Dec 11 2006 3:05 PM In reply to

    re: Prayer In The workplace

    The employers permits two 15-minute breaks during the day in addition to a 1 hour lunch. Prayer can take place during that time without affecting work.
    If the person is reasonable enough and does not pray in the middle of production floor during the breaks and/or lunch, how is that inappropriate?
  • Mon, Dec 11 2006 3:08 PM In reply to

    re: What does this have to do with current legal events?

    What if the person bows to Budah in a secluded corner? If the employer can restrict prayer to certain location within the workplace then there is no problem. But to deny it all together then it creates a big problem.
  • Mon, Dec 11 2006 3:36 PM In reply to

    • LynnM
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    re: What does this have to do with current legal events?

    The employer has no obligation to provide an "area" for you to worship. None at all.

    If you can pray silently in your normal break area without disruptiong others that's probably going to be OK. If you want to make a spectacle the employer may have the right to forbid it during the work day.
  • Mon, Dec 11 2006 3:47 PM In reply to

    re: What does this have to do with current legal events?

    Here is the situation. The individual employees were praying in a secluded area, away from traffic…basically, in the bottom of a stairwell. A few other employees are also praying to their gods in the form of computer screen background pictures or little statues in their drawers and are permitted to do it. I can understand prohibiting prayers if one interferes with the workflow or traffic or creates hazardous working conditions or if he/she does it on company time. But, if one does not bother anyone, can the employer still forbid him/her. That's the question.
    Thanks
  • Mon, Dec 11 2006 4:24 PM In reply to

    re: What does this have to do with current legal events?

    Probably would've been best suited to the civil rights board, but c'est la vie.
  • Mon, Dec 11 2006 4:26 PM In reply to

    re: What does this have to do with current legal events?

    As I and the others said, denying all prayer would not only be illegal; it would be impossible. If all you do is bow randomly, that probably wouldn't be a problem. The distinction basically lies between prayer and rituals. Obviously, there's a line somewhere, and that's where analysis becomes difficult.

    It also depends to a large degree on the applicable state law since constitutional protections of religious freedom don't apply to private employers.
  • Mon, Dec 11 2006 4:30 PM In reply to

    re: What does this have to do with current legal events?

    Well...now you've got a group prayer thing going on. That's POTENTIALLY disruptive to the workplace. Were ALL of the people involved on company-sanctioned breaks?

    Keep in mind that you're there to work, not engage in religious observances. People who are that devout probably wouldn't even think of doing work during a religious service, so they similarly should not be taking away from their employers by using work time for non-work activities.
  • Mon, Dec 11 2006 5:14 PM In reply to

    re: What does this have to do with current legal events?

    These individuals are praying separately...it's not a group prayer thing. If they are not causing disruption to the work, safety, etc. then can the company still prohibit them? If one prays in his car or in the picnic area, can the company still prohibit that?
    I mentioned that others belonging to other religions are not bothered when they display and pray to their gods on the company computer screens, on top of their desks or inside their drawers.
    Smokers are permitted to leave work and step outside to smoke individually and in groups (2 or 3). They are not questioned about the number of times they step outside to smoke.
  • Mon, Dec 11 2006 5:56 PM In reply to

    • LynnM
      Lawyer
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    • Joined on Mon, Apr 3 2000
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    re: What does this have to do with current legal events?

    Yes, unless the religion specifically requires prayer at that time of day. If people want to get together to pray they need to do it somewhere else, either before or after work.
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