How can you best show respect for individuals’ rights to pursue their own chosen approaches to spirituality in the workplace?

  1. Open each staff meeting with a few moments of silent prayer.
  2. b.         Encourage employees to display religious symbols on the office bulletin boards.
  3. c.         Visit your co-workers’ offices during lunch and share your religious pamphlets with them.
  4. d.         When others practice a religious belief that makes you feel uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation without voicing your judgment about their belief. 

Expert Answers

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Although it is possible for people to disagree on the correct answer for this, I would argue that D is the best answer.  Of the other options, Options A and B might work, but would not be as good of an idea as Option D.  Option C seems like a very bad idea.

For the most part, the workplace is not a place to promote religion in any sort of ostentatious way.  Instead, it should be a place in which people feel comfortable engaging in private religious practices that do not infringe on the rights and the sensibilities of others.  Option D is the answer that is most compatible with creating such a workplace.

Option A has two problems.  First, it would seem to relegate religious faith to these moments of silence at the start of meetings.  Workers surely have the right to engage in religious practices at other points.  Second, it would also tend to impose religious activity on people who do not want to participate.  Those who do not believe in prayer might feel marginalized by having silent prayer pushed on them.  The same would be true of the bulletin board idea in Option B.

Option C is a terrible idea.  This is not a way of encouraging people to respect one another.  Instead, it is an aggressive attempt to impose your beliefs on others.  This would surely annoy the majority of the people to whom you spoke.

Option D is the best idea.  When people are doing things like praying, you can simply leave the area.  There is no need to express the fact that you do not share their beliefs.  By simply leaving without comment, you do not make them feel uncomfortable and you do not condemn them.  Of course, they should be sensitive and should not engage in excessive displays of religious belief at work. 

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