Briefcase: Religion In The Workplace

Guest: Professor James Nelson

In recent years, more businesses have chosen to integrate religious beliefs into everyday corporate affairs. James Nelson, with The University of Houston Law School, is a corporate law professor and explains how the law treats this trend.

“Corporate employers are free to bring religion into the workplace, but they cannot impose religion on employees,” Professor Nelson said. “To do so would raise many of the same concerns we have with government imposing religion on citizens. I call this corporate disestablishment.”

However, Nelson said the limits of corporate disestablishment need to be clearly defined. “It turns out that a close reading of employment discrimination cases provides employers with helpful guidance on what they can and cannot do,” he said. “For example, they may not coerce religious observances, indoctrinate employees, use religious criteria to evaluate employee performance, or practice religious favoritism.”

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