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Workplace Discrimination

Discussion of news and current events related to Wicca.

Workplace Discrimination

Postby FTP » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:49 am

This article at Workforce Management reviews a workplace discrimination case from Connecticut in the US. I'm posting the issue as it involves an employer, Bath and Body Works that has approximately 30 Canadian locations. The unfortunate basis for the case is founded on the alleged comment by a Bath and Body Works manager that stated,

You will need a new career in your new year. … I will be damned if I have a devil worshiper on my team.

These workplace matters do occasionally occur as well in Canada including such notable cases involving Sam Wagar and Kerr Cuhulain (both from British Columbia). Both the US and Canada have laws protecting workers against discrimination in the workplace from employers. If indeed the manager at Bath and Body Works had made such a malicious comment towards the employee and then subsequently terminated the employee on the grounds of religious discrimination, I would hope the company would come out with a strongly worded position condemning the actions of the manager and be transparent in the corrective measures taken. The company has currently issued a neutrally worded statement regarding the matter:

“We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate against race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, sexual orientation or marital status,” says Robin Hoffman, specialist, external communications for Limited Brands. “Additionally, we do not comment on pending litigation.”

For now I think I'll hold off spending my holiday dollars on their fragrant products until either the case resolves acquitting the company of any wrong doing, or a more strongly-worded position is made public by the employer.

In Canada, the main legal support for freedom of religion and the necessity of employers to make reasonable accommodation for religious diversity in the workforce comes from:

1) Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) Section 2
Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.

2) Canadian Multiculturalism Act (1988)
3) Canadian Human Rights Act (1985)

I would be interested to hear from Canadian Wiccans regarding similar experiences that they have had in the workplace and how those matters resolved. Have you had a very positive experience with an employer that has provided reasonable accommodation of your beliefs and practices? Have you had a negative experience that required mitigation/arbitration?

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Re: Workplace Discrimination

Postby dragonwolf204 » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:28 am

I recently won the rights for my Holy Days at a school board in Edmonton.
They are recognizing 3 days not covered by usual holidays as part of the Holy Days program.
I am the first teacher to express desire to make use of this as a Wiccan.

It is a cool victory for Wiccans as teachers. And as a male Wiccan, i thought it odd no one else had asked previously.
This, i think, speaks to the fear out there.

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