Sample Corporate Documents in Support of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB)
These documents offer templates and sample language that businesses can use to ensure that freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) is respected by the company in its external and internal dealings.*
Freedom of Religion or Belief – FoRB – is an internationally recognized human right protecting people’s right to practice, change or have no religion. Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
The sample corporate documents include:
- – Corporate Charter Statements
- – Employee Policy
- – External Policies
- – Corporate Pledge
- – Best Practices
- – Appendix: Draft resolutions of the governing body to approve changes to corporate charters
* Comments are welcome. Contact RFBF president Brian Grim: brian@ReligiousFreedomAndBusiness.org.
Promoting a Human Right: Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in the Workplace
Freedom of Religion or Belief is an internationally recognized human right. Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
However, 36% of Americans report experiencing or witnessing workplace religious discrimination, according to a recent Tanenbaum survey, “What American Workers Really Think about Religion.”
Nearly half of non-Christian workers (49%) report experiencing or witnessing religious non-accomodation at work. White evangelical workers (48%) are equally as likely to report this. And two-in-five (40%) atheists also report experiencing or witnessing religious non-accomodation.
The survey notes that when it comes to addressing religion in the workplace, different religious groups have different needs for accommodation. For instance, a non-Christian may care more about the right to display a religious object or the right to pray during the day, while a Christian will be more concerned about attending service on Sunday.
The survey found that the most commonly experienced or witnessed forms of religious non-accommodation are being required to work on Sabbath observances or religious holidays (24%) and attending company-sponsored events that did not include kosher, halal or vegetarian options (13%).
This affects the bottom line in various ways, including losses in employee morale. For instance, the survey found that morale is higher in companies that provide flexible hours for religious observance.
Workplace religion discrimination also can increase risks of litigation and negative publicity, as the clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch recently discovered when it ran afoul of religious accommodation laws in the U.S. They have since changed their policies after paying fines, legal fees and a stream of negative PR, including losing the case at the U.S. Supreme Court.