Religion in the workplace: is it appropriate?
May 5, 2011 12:44 AM   Subscribe

Is it okay to bring religion into the workplace?

I recently quit a job at a coffee shop because I was moving, but I was also troubled by how the new owners were running the store.

The couple who bought the store are Christian. I am atheist and am very accepting of others' beliefs, it's just that I don't believe in what they believe in - and vice versa - which is perfectly fine.

The issue that bothered me was that she (one of the owners - the husband never discussed these things at work) brought her religion into the workplace. It started small, with new "Angel-Themed" merchandise, stuffed animals that are praying, "Angel-a-Day" calendars we displayed, "Praise FM" suddenly being allowed on the radio at work. She would leave notes with blessings for us to read. There were other times she would tell us about the Church her family went to and the miracles that happened inside. Whenever she spoke about her Church or her religion, I simply nodded politely or tried to avoid conversation completely by doing a lot of cleaning/tidying up while she was around.

It continued to escalate when she asked a possible new employee during an interview if she went to Church, and gave a very new staff member a bible with a special passage marked for her to read. This employee is not Christian, and confided in me that she was uncertain of what to do/say when she received this bible from our boss.

These incidents and changes to the store made me feel very uncomfortable. I did not want her to ask me if I went to Church. I would want to be honest about the beliefs I care about, but I feared it would quickly make interactions between us very awkward. Other employees I spoke to also felt uneasy, and the general consensus was that this was all very inappropriate for our work environment.

In Canada (specifically British Columbia), is it okay for bosses/owners to bring religion (or simply any religious/non-religious beliefs for that matter) into a workplace? Are there laws that prohibit doing this? What can employees do to protect themselves?
posted by Bron-Y-Aur to Religion & Philosophy (38 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From a legal matter I'd guess owners of a private company can do that sort of thing. It'd probably be another issue if they fired someone because of religion.

Just out of curiosity, did the previous owners know about the direction the new ones wanted to take the store in, and were you or your co-workers able to discuss this with them, just to get their take on it?

And what was their previous business? From a practical, business standpoint, it sounds like they might risk alienating not only their employees, but customers as well.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:05 AM on May 5, 2011

The BC Human Rights Code makes it illegal for employers to discriminate based on any of the following 16 things, called “grounds”: race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status (this includes family obligations of one person to another, not just parent - child), physical disability - including HIV and AIDS, mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, age (if you are 19 years of age or older), criminal or summary convictions, and may extend to conduct / acts that did not result in a charge or conviction, as long as they are unrelated to the job, lawful source of income (this one usually applies to tenancy, not job discrimination), retaliation (if someone discriminates against you because you complained to the Tribunal) [source: Canadian Bar Association].

(This kind of thing wouldn't fly in most states in the US, especially California, where I live. Anti-discrimination laws are much stronger there.)
posted by phoebus at 1:11 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: TheSecretDecorderRing - Thanks for your reply! The store was corporate for 2-3 years before the new owners (franchisee) bought it.

I imagine the new owners did discuss with Head Office about generating more foot traffic, getting sales up (more merchandise, new TV etc), but not about the type of merchandise they'd be buying. We had a meeting about the directions they were taking the store and input was welcomed. This was before any of the merchandise had arrived. They did not mention anything about purchasing Christian-themed merchandise during the meeting - so it came as a bit of a shock.

They previously owned a children's clothing store. I found it extremely alienating (and customers could have as well) as our community is very multicultural with people who have all sorts of beliefs. I'd guess most people in the area are not Christian.

After getting to know the new boss over a few months, it is very possible she just isn't aware that she is making anyone uncomfortable.

- Thanks for the link! I should note that our boss did not openly discriminate towards staff/potential staff who weren't Christian, she only asked in an interview if she attended Church. (The interviewee replied that she had been in the past, and if it's relevant - she got the job.)
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 1:30 AM on May 5, 2011

Even asking if someone 'attends church' can be construed as asking about someone's religion, which turns it into a potential discrimination issue. It doesn't matter if they ask if that person 'attends Church'. They also couldn't ask if that person attends a synagogue, or a mosque, or the local Buddhist temple. Saying yes or no can hint toward a person's religion, which opens the possibility for skewing one's opinion of the potential employee. 'Oh, they used to attend church! Well, in that case...'

Being that I am Wiccan, I would find that sort of paraphernalia you described in my workplace extremely uncomfortable. Of course, I'm the one who would speak up and say as much. It's one thing to sell little Christian trinkets ... it's another to effectively proselytize to your employees. I ended up quitting a job due to bible passages posted on the clock-in/-out board, because I was seriously too uncomfortable with it. (If it helps, that store had an alarmingly high employee turnover rate.)

Again, I'd be the one to speak up and say something to the boss. I can understand their potential nervousness about losing their job because of it, but if more than one speaks up it becomes less an issue of one person having a bug in their britches. Plus, if a few/many/all speak up, it's harder to fire them all and not make it look bad. (If they do, have documentation. Paper trails will make it easier.)
posted by Heretical at 2:07 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Bonus: Since you don't work there anymore, you could always tell the owner 'I'm glad I was moving anyway, because your constant religious stuff was really not cool.' What will they do -- fire you?
posted by Heretical at 2:18 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

It definitely doesn't sound like they're aware of how she comes off, but I'm sure it's genuinely well-intentioned. If she were lecturing and judging everybody, and making staffing decisions based on this, that's different.

As someone who no longer works with the company, you could probably put in a word on behalf of your old-coworkers (maybe just with the less outspoken husband), although there's no obligation to do so. But they're kind of in a bind, and you do have nothing to lose. I don't think doing it in an antagonistic way would be productive, though. On the other hand, even if you discuss this nicely, they may very well go back to their old ways in the long run anyway.

And while it would be easy to tell the workers to just look for another job, I think the harsh reality of taking that path is obvious.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:51 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

No, never in the industry or nation I work in.
posted by evil_esto at 3:00 AM on May 5, 2011

There are three questions here: Is it "Legal", Is it "Right", is it a "Good Idea".

Legal- If she doesn't hire or fires someone because of their religion, probably not legal. That's why she shouldn't ask, it opens her up to some liability on this front, even if religion isn't used as a factor in making decision.

Right- That's a subjective her it is "right", she believes in what she is doing. You don't need to agree, but you don't own the business.

Good Idea- That depends on how she does it and how it is received by employees, customers, and the community.
posted by tomswift at 3:09 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

As it's a franchise, it may well be worth getting in touch with the franchisor; they may have opinions on whether or not they are ok with one of their franchises becoming known as 'the place with all the angel stuff', and if necessary there should be a clause in the franchise agreement about it.
posted by Lebannen at 3:53 AM on May 5, 2011 [8 favorites]

Since this is a franchise, I could see the parent company not liking this sort of change if it were inconsistent with the larger brand. Beyond that, nothing you've described would be terribly unusual where I live (semi-rural northern Ohio). I don't patronize businesses that behave in such a way, but they're definitely around.

I worked several years for a family business (non-retail) where the owners and a core group of long-term employees all attended the same church. I was invited to a very bloody passion play at that church not long after being hired. I gritted my teeth and went in an attempt at open-mindedness. Got to see the company VP (the owner's son) crucified before sitting in judgment to cast bikers and people who like rock and roll into a tinfoil-lined hell. The owner himself read a bible passage before letting everyone go for the Christmas break each year. I didn't like it. I wasn't comfortable at all. But the law in my area, and probably in yours, doesn't guarantee your comfort. As suggested above, they can't legally hire, fire, promote or demote on the basis of religion, but that's about it. Even if they do those things, it's not easy to prove.
posted by jon1270 at 3:58 AM on May 5, 2011

The fact that you are already aware of them being Xtian indicates that religion is pretty much already in the workplace. I suggest getting informed as much as possible so that you'll be able to defend your beliefs when the inevitable arrives and they start preaching.
posted by watercarrier at 4:37 AM on May 5, 2011

Up to the point at which she asked an interviewee whether they went to church it sounded obnoxious but probably ok. Kind of like an over eager sports fan.

I wouldn't want to work there and would politely make it clear why I left.
posted by plonkee at 4:51 AM on May 5, 2011

Wait - you want to tell a small business owner what they can and can not bring into their own business?

It is their business - not yours. Don't work there, don't partonize their store. But don't impose on their right to use their business as they see fit.

Will you be ok with Christian nut-jobs telling you what you can bring into your business? You don't want them imposing speech restrictions on your small company, but you are willing to impose upon them.

Are you really going to run to their franchise and tattle on them? Are you the thought police? It is between them and their franchisor.
posted by Flood at 4:51 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

There were a couple people at my work place who would go around asking people to pray with them. It made everyone uncomfortable. One of them was told to stop and she did. The other one told everyone they would go to hell for not accepting Jesus. He was out of control and eventually got fired. We're a Gov agency and even though we have that thing called seperation of church and state, it's a gray area, cause he was actually being fired for harassment in the workplace.
posted by udon at 5:01 AM on May 5, 2011

The best way to address this might be to tell them that they're opening themselves up to a lawsuit, if someone they fire for any reason decides to take them to court over religious harassment.

In Canada, they could actually be sued by the government agency that protects religious freedom (I forget its name at the moment). It wouldn't cost their former employee a cent, but they'd have to pay for their own lawyers.

Put it that way, and you're the nice person looking out for them, and they might cool it on what they probably think is being friendly, and others might see as persecution.
posted by musofire at 5:06 AM on May 5, 2011

Flood- When a business starts hiring employees, all kinds of tighter expectations of behavior start to come into effect. There is, rightly, a certain level of conduct that they must adhere to. I'd never tell them what they can or can't *sell* or *believe*, but their behavior with regards to employees starts to cross the line.

And you know it's wrong, or you wouldn't have used the word "tattle".
posted by gjc at 5:09 AM on May 5, 2011 [9 favorites]

I am a contractor that goes around fixing things, and I was in a hallway working on something. Two people, one a highly paid professional, started to have bible chat in an office directly next to me. I was genuinely surprised at how flustered it made me.

Not appropriate for the workplace. If only because it is wasting time.
posted by gjc at 5:13 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

@gjc - That is my point: what line?

The OP says:
1. they sold religious stuff
2. the boss talked about her life at work (which includes her belief system)
3. the boss gave a gift to an employee (new friend)

There is no statement of people being discriminated. There is nothing about breaking any law. There isnt even a statement about the boss telling others they would go to hell if they didnt convert (and that is a favorite of the religious nuts). From the facts provide, I defy you to name one law in either the US or Canada that was violated.

The OP is saying - they were religious, and that made me uncomfortable.
My response to that is: tough.

The BOSS can not be herself at her own business - because her thoughts make the OP uncomfortable! Cut me a break.

Make a statement showing actual discrimination, and then maybe I will have sympathy.
With what you have said right now - you are tattle-taling on someone because you do not agree with the way the think.
posted by Flood at 5:22 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was fine with the selling of the merchandise (it's their store, they can do what they want, but they would drive my business away even if I had been going there for years), but when you mentioned they gave a bible to someone, and asked about church that's where I got a weird feeling.

As a private store they can sell anything they want, but i guess they need to understand their clientele will change.

she only asked in an interview if she attended Church
In the US I seriously doubt she could do that legally, but I don't know about the Great White North

What I would watch out for is the hiring of a new employee that is religious and the sudden skyrocketing of their responsibilities even though their peers have been there longer and/or are better suited for those responsibilities. Discrimination does not need to be verbal, and in some cases the forcing of a bible on someone can cross that line.
posted by zombieApoc at 5:42 AM on May 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

If you could never have a Sunday off because you said you didn't go to church and therefore had to cover for everyone else, that'd be discrimination. If the new employee who said she did go to church is making more than you for the same job, that'd be discrimination.

Otherwise, you have had a boss who was an enthusiastic Christian and was creating a Christian-themed coffeeshop.

Not so far off from my sports-nut manager who tries to foist college basketball tickets on all of us. "Thank you for the offer. I know you love SlamDunk U, but I'm just not into college basketball. Did you want that report in Word or PDF?"
posted by ladygypsy at 6:25 AM on May 5, 2011

Legally, in Canada? I have no idea. Ethically, in principle? Absolutely not. Religion and politics should be kept strictly out of the workplace. Pretty much every British business I've worked for has rules to that effect. And one time I had no compunction about reporting my boss to HR when he started up a lunchtime Bible study group in the office. He got a proper bollocking for it, and rightly so.

(Flood - the OP's question was "Is this appropriate", not simply "Is this legal.")
posted by Decani at 6:37 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

The OP is saying - they were religious, and that made me uncomfortable.
My response to that is: tough.

I think the OP is saying a bit more than that. If the new owners merely decided to become a Christian-themes coffee shop that is one thing.

Asking, even innocently new hires about their church attendance is a big, big, no-no.

That is in the US, at least, and I'd be gobsmacked if it was different in BC. Even if innocent, if said person doesn't get the job, the lawyers will have a field day. Even as a tactical move, why open yourself up to that?

Leaving notes with blessings could be construed as crossing the line. I don't know, legally, there is also the idea of whether or not this is a mom-and-pop business were employees might be friends or family, or a huge corporation.

In the US, at least, Catholic hospitals or Jewish hospitals can't discriminate, no preaching to patients or employees, but most Catholic hospitals don't perform abortions. If the attending OB/GYN feels that is an infringement, well, try to sue or go to another hospital. Many Jewish hospitals, like Long Island Jewish, e.g., in New York serve only Kosher foods, and have "Sabbath elevators". Could it be discrimination because a gentile patient or a doctor can't get a ham sandwich from the coffee shop? Doubtful. Would *any* of the HR people at these hospitals ask if an employee went to mass or shul? Seriously doubt it.
posted by xetere at 6:48 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

I do think coffee shops are a special case, in that they're often gathering places for particular communities, and are deliberately set up to be that way.

I live in a town with a lot of coffee shops, and a few of them have very distinctive personalities because of the people who own and run them. There's an explicitly Christian coffee shop. There's the gay men's coffee shop. And there's the homeopathic healer's coffee shop. They'll serve anyone a cup of coffee, of course, but they cater to select subsets of the population. Depending on who you are, one or another of these places might make you very uncomfortable, because of non-coffee stuff they sell, the kinds of performances they host, etc. As a potential employee, I would certainly want to know what messages my employer was going to want their staff to be comfortable with. I don't think there's anything wrong or discriminatory going on n my town: it's just three different groups of people who have different lifestyles, and their coffee shops serve as gathering places for their respective communities. Isn't this what coffee shops have done since 18th century London?

Admittedly there's a fine line re: employment discrimination; but on the other hand, potential employees should be informed about the work environment. If it's Christian, either roll with it, or find another workplace that's a better fit.

And I'd so much rather have coffee shops with personality than three Peets or Starbucks.
posted by philokalia at 6:58 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

If it were illegal to bring religion into the workplace then you wouldn't have the Christian supply stores. It doesn't sound like they're being discriminatory in their practices, just irritating like some christians can be with their evangelizing. If it were a privately owned coffee shop, I'd say they're within their rights to create whatever image they want there.

But if these people are running a franchise coffee shop, then they may be contractually obligated to maintain a certain image of the shop that complies with the overall image of the brand name. If it bothers you this much, then put a complaint in to the franchise - it's well within your rights to let them know if you don't like something one of their stores is doing. A representative from the franchise is likely to check in on them and rectify the situation - not an attack on their religion, just this is the way they're expected to run this coffee shop as per franchise agreement. People expect consistency from franchises.
posted by lizbunny at 7:18 AM on May 5, 2011

Contact the franchise (anonymously, if you need). They may have a contact form on their website for this purpose. Note what's going on and things may be addressed quickly.

A local gas station once hosted a Christian fundraising booth on the sidewalk just outside the building and all patrons paying inside had to pass the group on the way to the register. Normally this wouldn't bother me, but the people in the booth were literally shouting down and chasing customers to their cars to tell them about the coming rapture.

I spoke politely with the manager about my discomfort with their aggressive tactics, but the manager sided with the fundraiser and gave me the brush-off. One quick e-mail to the franchise from my phone and an hour later, the manager, fresh from a verbal spanking by the district manager, personally contacted me by phone to apologize. Days later, I got another apology e-mail from the district manager. Depending on the franchise, they may take proselytization of one particular religion very seriously.
posted by theraflu at 7:29 AM on May 5, 2011

Coincidentally, there's a coffee shop near my work that's owned and run by a church, which uses its profits from the coffee house to fund its ministry.

They hold services downstairs on weekends, and have occasional bible study groups in one of their side rooms during the week. However, you'd never know any of this, unless you picked up one of their pamphlets by the registers. I went there for months before realizing that it was affiliated with a church.

I think they might have a painting on the wall that somehow incorporates the phrase "Love Thy Neighbor," but it's seriously nothing more than that. I've walked in there holding hands with my boyfriend, and never got anything but smiles and delicious coffee from the staff there. From my recollection, a few of their employees are also nonreligious. The guy playing the guitar in the corner isn't singing about Jesus, but he also isn't saying "Fuck".

So, yeah. It's entirely possible for a group of religious people to run a business in accordance with their values, without alienating their employees or customers. IMO, your former employers are probably well-intentioned, but crossed a huge line when they started asking about religion in job interviews. I agree with the other folks here that you should write to the franchisor to let them know what's going on. Most big chains take this sort of thing very seriously.
posted by schmod at 8:37 AM on May 5, 2011

In my eyes there's nothing wrong with them playing Praise FM in the coffeeshop, selling religious materials there in addition to coffee, etc. If that's the business they want to run, well, OK. It's up to their employees to decide whether they want to work in a Christian Coffeeshop and up to their customers to decide whether they're interested in patronizing a Christian Coffeeshop.

I'm not really sure how being a corporate franchise has anything to do with this - I guess that would depend on the nature of the chain and what their policies are. If we're talking about a major player like Starbucks or something, I'm guessing they'd see that as diluting the brand, but that's not really your business. And it has nothing to do with religion, either.

What is not appropriate, however, is proselytizing in the workplace, especially to employees. Or bringing up religion in the context of hiring. Ugh, no. Even if it's not technically illegal in BC, it's still grossly inappropriate.
posted by Sara C. at 8:48 AM on May 5, 2011

Echoing schmod - Back during the dot com bubble I worked for a startup in the bay area called As the name implies, it was an explicitly Christian website whose business mission consisted of doing things like providing a lookup of Christian churches by denomination anywhere in the country, and providing all kinds of ministry services to churches to help them get into the web space without needing their own technical staff. Obviously the principles of the company where Christian, and I would assume that I significant percentage of the employees were also Christian. That being said, it was a very professional technical work environment, with no preaching going on at all. I distinctly remember one day when someone sent a mass email to all the employees that was nothing more than a prayer request or a blessing or something, and they received an immediate smackdown from the higher ups regarding what is and is not appropriate in the work place. On the day when Pat Robertson (ugh!) came to visit, they structured it to happen during the lunch hour and made it very clear that nobody was required to be there and that there would be absolutely no repercussions to anyone who decided to take a long lunch offsite that day.

So yeah, asking in an interview whether or not the applicant goes to church is almost certainly a Very Bad Thing. Ditto with giving bibles to employees and such. Selling angels, not so much (as long as they are not violating their franchise agreement). I am sure they are very nice, well-intentioned people who don't really realize what they are doing. If I were the one leaving, I would tell them so in as nice a way as possible, presenting it as a "you probably don't realize this, but..." kind of conversation intended to provide constructive feedback.
posted by Lokheed at 9:03 AM on May 5, 2011

I don't think there's any legal right to feeling "comfortable". I've worked with people who are all hot for the cult of L Ron, which makes me want to barf, but so what? If you didn't like the vibes, quit.

But you're not working there. What possible influence do you think you'll have?
posted by Ideefixe at 9:13 AM on May 5, 2011

Religion in the workplace is tacky as hell, regardless of the faith.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:34 AM on May 5, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all the thoughtful responses everyone! But I feel I need to clarify some points. I don't want to make influence on their business. I quit. It's their business - I don't care what they do with it - I just don't want to be part of it, which I am not. I'm simply wondering if their behavior (which made employees feel uncomfortable) was appropriate, and what the repurcussions would be (legally) if an employee wanted (I don't) to pursue this matter further. I am not telling them how to run their business or have any plans to do so.

I think my main problem was that this isn't a religious supply store. It is a neutral coffee shop in a multicultural community.

Flood -

Wait - you want to tell a small business owner what they can and can not bring into their own business?

Again. No. I quit. I really don't care what they do with their business anymore. I'm not trying to tell them how to do anything.

It is their business - not yours. Don't work there, don't partonize their store. But don't impose on their right to use their business as they see fit.

I don't work there. I am not imposing on their rights. I'm not sure where you are getting this from. I think you may have jumped to a few incorrect conlusions and assumptions here.

Will you be ok with Christian nut-jobs telling you what you can bring into your business? You don't want them imposing speech restrictions on your small company, but you are willing to impose upon them.

If I owned a business I would keep it a neutral environment where all my staff felt comfortable to be who they wanted to be. I'd leave my beliefs at home.

Are you really going to run to their franchise and tattle on them? Are you the thought police? It is between them and their franchisor.

Who said I was tattling? I'm hypothetically asking whether or not their behaviour was appropriate - and if their could be legal repurcussions for a boss who does make their staff feel uncomfortable, for whatever the reason may be.

And from your previous comment:

The OP is saying - they were religious, and that made me uncomfortable.
My response to that is: tough

I don't really know what to say to this assumption, so I'll quote my own post for you to hopefully clear somethings up.

"The couple who bought the store are Christian. I am atheist and am very accepting of others' beliefs, it's just that I don't believe in what they believe in - and vice versa - which is perfectly fine."
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 10:10 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

It continued to escalate when she asked a possible new employee during an interview if she went to Church

Everything described is borderline-tolerable, except this. Repugnant.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:18 AM on May 5, 2011

Aren't there rules about creating an uncomfortable working atmosphere?

The OP is saying - they were religious, and that made me uncomfortable.
My response to that is: tough.

Would your answer also be "tough", if the op said "They posted nude pictures of women everywhere, and that made me uncomfortable."
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:31 AM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]

It continued to escalate when she asked a possible new employee during an interview if she went to Church

Every corporation I've worked for has specifically told us to _never_ ask these kinds of questions (for legal reasons -- although obviously it's also normally irrelevant). That's in the US, though.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:09 PM on May 5, 2011

Best answer: Asking, even innocently new hires about their church attendance is a big, big, no-no.

That is in the US, at least, and I'd be gobsmacked if it was different in BC

From the Employment Standards Act Manual For Employers

Do not make enquiries about an employee's religious beliefs during a job interview (the Code applies not only during employment, but also during employment interviews, job postings, and advertisements).

In addition to not answering the question and arguing with the poster, Flood is simply wrong. Asking someone if they attend church is illegal in B.C. . The obvious reason is to prevent religious discrimination, as it would be impossible to prove discrimination over such an issue. This is why you also can't ask if someone is married, or their age, in the interview process.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:29 PM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks PareidoliaticBoy, definitely the best answer of the bunch. I think this one is solved!
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 3:53 PM on May 5, 2011

There is no statement of people being discriminated.

Awesome. Here's your Darwin fish t-shirt. It's a gift from me, your employer. Do you believe in evolution? I'm just asking. I'm just going to put this Dawkins podcast over the PA. Isn't he awesome? I'm just going to leave this note for you - it's about the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I'm so glad it's OK for me to just be myself, and that you just have to suck it up.

Doesn't Canada impose a 'duty to accommodate' on employers? This behviour sounds awfully like something that would breach that duty in respect of non-Christians.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:20 PM on May 5, 2011

As you can tell by my user name,I am a Christian. I do not consider myself a "religious fanatic",a religious expert, or perfect by any means. I have a small business where my wife and I distribute food boxes to needy people. In each box we try to include religious tracts or bibles. There is no pressure for the recipients to read them.They could take them out and burn them if they want to.We simply add them in case they're interested. All this is done solely at our expense. we receive no help of any kind other than God's. If you are a believer or not doesn't matter.Only that you and your family need help.
Realize that many people try to do good things,some just get mis-guided in their pursuit.
This sounds like the case here.I do believe the owners could be mis-guided.If you made it known to them that you were an atheist and it made you uncomfortable to be continually exposed to their beliefs and they refused to stop,that is an infringement on you and negligence on their part. However,if you simply tried to "keep busy" and didn't let them know that it bothered you,that's your negligence.They couldn't be responsible for not being able to read your mind.Communication is the #1 key to good work relations!
As far as the religious themes they put in place as new owners,it's legal to try to take steps to make a profit.It's also illegal to try to stop them from doing so.Sounds like you exercised the right option:to quit. But you could try to leave on good terms.Try talkng to them now and let them know that even though you are of different beliefs and you were uncomfortable being there, there are no bad feelings and you wish them well.You may at least get a good reference and may even get a good friend. Good luck in your new employ.
posted by pastor k at 1:09 PM on May 23, 2011

« Older Is this company guilty of false...   | knees! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.