When different from our own expectations, we often formulate conclusions regarding a person’s attitude or behaviors. Reasoning is hypothesized. We conjure explanations and fixate on the resultant conclusions. Failure to further evaluate a situation by asking simple questions escalates misinterpretation and assumptions are made on limited information.
In the book, Opportunities and Challenges of Workplace Diversity, two scenarios wherein employees refrain from certain activities on specific days of the week are discussed. Jonathon, a top business school graduate resists working on Saturdays, claiming prior engagements and responsibilities. Coworkers began doubting his dedication. Similarly, Jenny, once a collegiate athlete declined the
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How management, co-workers and the employee respond to one’s activities, responses or beliefs needs to begin with communication and the incorporation of awareness (Pruzan & Pruzan-Mikkelsen, 2007). An employer must accommodate an employee’s observance of his or her religious beliefs when reasonable and when the accommodation does not cause undue hardship on the employer’s business (Canas & Sondak, 2011). If good leadership exists, they will engage one another across lines of difference, supporting a spirit of humility, building communication and trust, and offering an inclusive vision (Hicks, 2003). Additionally, if expecting compliance from an employer, an employee will need to be clear when explaining why they need a religious accommodation. Respectful and appropriate questions need to be asked. Sufficient responses need to be provided. Consideration regarding the answers needs to be shown.
Employees often seek to bridge the gap between their spiritual and work lives (Peppers & Briskin, 2000) or look to utilize faith as a resource for ethical guidance (Canas & Sondak, 2011). It may be that having just basic knowledge regarding a person’s actions and reactions is enough to eliminate unnecessary rumors, discount speculation or impart acceptance. Sometimes it is not. Regardless, one must be prepared to recognize that