Your needs have changed as your business has grown. Your challenges are very specific and require serious expertise.
Spiritual bias, inclusion and sensitivity training.
The most qualified job applicant has dreadlocks down to his waist. You have a policy that requires all hair to be shoulder length or shorter.
A cashier suddenly starts to refuse to check out customers purchasing pork products.
A cab driver refuses to transport passengers who are drinking or drunk.
A machine operator requests time away from a press to allow for prayer during her shift. A male coworker also requests the same time away, but wants a separate area from her to pray.
An employee complains about other employees washing their feet in the bathroom sink.
An employee wears a ceremonial knife to work.
An employee overseeing the company's unofficial 'prayer chain' asks someone to leave the prayer chain because they aren't the same faith as the person overseeing it.
These are actual, religiously-based situations employers are facing today. Do you know how to immediately diffuse these situations to avoid a potential federal lawsuit?
EEOC statistics show the number of religion-based discrimination cases filed with the EEOC has more than doubled in the past 20 years. The cost to companies to defend against these types of cases has skyrocketed. Over $10 million was paid out in 2016 alone, for monetary benefits that excluded benefits paid through litigation. How well-trained are your managers and HR personnel to work with religious-based employee requests? When can you legally turn down a request for religious accommodation? Are you currently at risk for being sued?
What would happen to your business if you had a group of employees walk out in support of an employee's claim of religious discrimination against you? How expensive, time-consuming and painful would that be for your human resources team to replace them on a temporary basis? Permanent replacement prior to resolution could cause the addition of a wrongful termination claim and further complicate matters and potential penalties.
Instead, I can educate your teams on proper interviewing/hiring practices, and how to address these kinds of issues in a positive way, thus avoiding escalation and winning employee loyalty, gratitude and increased production instead.
For situations that have begun to escalate, I can mediate resolutions that could save you tens of thousands of dollars, perhaps avoid the legal system altogether, and possibly avoid bankruptcy.
When the request for accommodation and/or understanding passes the point of a friendly conversation internally, there's still hope! As a professionally trained, formally ordained interfaith minister who has been trained in the art of mediation and arbitration, I can facilitate mediation sessions to allow the parties to open up, reach across the table and find solutions that are acceptable to both parties. In the alternative, I can act as an arbitrator, listening to both sides and rendering a decision if both parties agree to do so.
Consider the cost of attorneys fighting for years in federal court, the bad publicity of a discrimination lawsuit, all the headaches, potentially having to keep jobs unfilled while the lawsuit progresses, and the fact that most employees refuse to talk with lawyers or retired judges who are trained in law school to fight vigorously for only one side. Your employees know this, and are less likely to receive them as a neutral party to mediate/arbitrate as a result. Then consider hiring an outside interfaith minister who remains neutral, whose only goal is to find a way for both sides to resolve their differences and stay out of the court system. Call me.
Note to parties: Mediation and arbitration may be legally binding if both parties agree that it will be. I am not a lawyer, and therefore I can not offer legal advice in any manner, and will not do so, including the interpretation of any laws. Please check with legal counsel before making any decisions regarding both the choice of mediation or arbitration versus pursuing legal remedies in a court of law, as well as any agreement you may make during mediation.
Corporate ministry services.
Would you like to offer spiritual support to your employees on a regular basis? Someone they can feel comfortable talking with on a confidential basis, who understands their spirituality and can provide personal guidance, counseling and ministry services? You could hire a priest, minister, imam, rabbi, medicine woman and counselor to start, or you could hire an interfaith minister educated in all these faith traditions and more. Before being ordained as an interfaith minister I was required to demonstrate a working knowledge of multiple traditions in addition to atheism, agnosticism and spiritual counseling. As a member of A World Alliance of Interfaith Clergy, I am bound to an ethical standard to respect all traditions instead of just one.
I'm available to come to your business once or twice a month to meet with employees confidentially, or talk with them by telephone or video conference. I can provide them with services such as marital counseling, wedding officiant services, baptism or baby blessings, funeral services, spiritual guidance and more at a reduced fee or free, based on your preferences. This is a wonderful benefit you can offer your employees that lets them know you honor their spiritual beliefs, value them as whole human beings, and care about their families as well. It also sets you apart from competitors in an already difficult hiring market. I can structure packages for employees or you, according to your desire and needs.
Are you at a loss for how to incorporate spirituality into your workplace in a way that reflects your values and philosphy, honors your employees, builds loyalty, and increases productivity? I'm available on a consulting basis to help you determine which ones are right for your environment, to help develop and institute those programs, and participate in them as a resource on an ongoing basis.