Tanenbaum Releases 2013 Ramadan Fact Sheet for Managers and Human Resource Professionals

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Get the Facts: Tanenbaum releases Ramadan fact sheet to help managers and human resource pros accommodate employees’ religious beliefs in the workplace.

There are ways to easily accommodate Muslim employees' religious needs during Ramadan and throughout the year. For the managers who aren’t sure what to do, Tanenbaum offers practical solutions.

The Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding today released its 2013 Ramadan fact sheet for managers and human resource professionals.

The fact sheet is available for free online here: https://www.tanenbaum.org/programs/work/workplace-resources

“With religious tensions reverberating in the U.S. and abroad, employers seeking top talent are building more religiously diverse global workforces. To maintain morale, they need to be proactive about defusing tensions around diverse beliefs,” noted Joyce S. Dubensky, CEO of Tanenbaum. “By making just a few critical adjustments, employers can often counter prejudice affecting employees from the full range of religious—and non-religious—beliefs. This time of year, it makes good sense to focus on the Muslim community because Rama-dan is just around the corner.”

This year, depending on a region's lunar position, Ramadan begins on July 8 and ends on August 8. During this period, many Muslims choose to participate in religious practices that have an impact on their daily lives.

“There are ways to easily accommodate Muslim employees' religious needs during Ramadan and throughout the year,” said Dubensky. “For the managers who aren’t sure what to do, Tanenbaum offers practical solu-tions.”

Several years ago, a human resources executive from an international corporation contacted Dubensky because employees were complaining about Muslim co-workers preparing for prayer in the bathrooms. The manager wanted to know if it was okay to tell his Muslim employees to stop the way they prepared for prayer.

First, she told them they could not stop employees from preparing for prayer.

“Their preparation probably comes from a sincerely held belief," she said, "and you should try to honor such beliefs.”

Then she provided a solution: “Designate one of your 10 bathrooms as the one all people will use to prepare for prayer. The bathroom is still available to everybody but if an employee prefers not to share a bathroom with co-workers preparing for prayer, there are nine other bathrooms that are available.”

The manager agreed, but immediately raised another concern: while preparing for prayer, employees were put-ting their feet in the sink, and he was worried that they would fall and get hurt.

Again, she offered a practical approach: “How about creating close-to-the ground bathing basins for washing feet?”

Dubensky also suggested creating a quiet room near the designated bathroom, so Muslims and people of all faiths and none would have a space to pray, reflect, and meditate.

The manager acted on all the recommendations. The conflict was resolved and nobody’s religion was diminished.

“Religion can be a touchy subject in the workplace,” offered Dubensky. “By following some simple guidelines and making sure that everyone’s religion is respected to the extent possible, employees are happier and that boosts the bottom line.”

Tanenbaum is a secular, non-sectarian organization that combats religious prejudice and promotes mutual respect. Tanenbaum’s practical programs bridge religious differences for hundreds of thousands of teachers & students, employers & employees, doctors & patients and peacemakers combating armed conflict across the globe.

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