Religion and the hiring process
Religion is no doubt one of the most personal and touchy subjects we face in the workplace. However, in light of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Supreme Court ruling, it has become a critical issue to address because an employer’s religious beliefs can determine an employee’s job benefits.
While employers cannot ask about a potential employee’s religious beliefs or practices, it IS acceptable for a potential employee to ask about the company’s religious beliefs. So, what does this mean for you?
For employers, I borrow from the Entrepreneur article: “honesty and transparency must be a top priority during the hiring process. If religion is a core value of the company’s ownership and this influences the culture, then hiring managers should express these values during the hiring process.”
Again, using the Hobby Lobby case, religious beliefs may influence certain health care benefits that some people consider routine, and potential candidates should be informed of the corporate stance in order to accurately decide whether or not your company is a good fit for them.
Also, consider stating these beliefs in your marketing materials, alongside your other core beliefs so that candidates come to the interview with a general idea of where you stand; there may be more specific questions that need to be addressed, but if you give them an overview, you may avoid some of these questions altogether.
Try not to take it personally
Another way to address religious beliefs as core values is to simply be prepared to answer questions. While a potential employee is doing their duty by asking about company core policies, try not to take it personally.
They should not be asking about your own personal religious beliefs, only the company’s, in order to make an accurate assessment of the position being offered. Keep your procedure for addressing core values consistent for every applicant. Give the exact same answer to every candidate, every time. This helps protect your own interests should any issues of discrimination arise. It is also advisable to wait until the candidate brings up this issue, as to not appear over zealous about the issue. And again, under no circumstances should you ask about a potential employee’s beliefs.
Employees, do your due diligence
For potential employees, this means you need to do your due diligence. Investigate potential employers and find out just what their core values are and how they will influence your benefits, if at all. But beware that many times, especially regarding health insurance, what is covered and what is not, is not always clearly addressed.
Rarely will you find anything that is full disclosed, so, you should be prepared with questions regarding any corporate policies that are unclear, or not addressed at all. This helps to insure you get a job that offers benefits and philosophies that will keep you healthy and happy. Interview time is the time to get your questions answered.
Religion and benefits
If you do not address these questions in the interview process, if you are hired, you may find yourself lacking benefits that you could have been found with another employer whose beliefs matched more closely with your own. Remember when asking about religious beliefs, you are asking about the company’s beliefs, not the interviewers, as many times individuals religious beliefs will differ from their employers. You just want to ensure that your potential job’s core beliefs will not restrict your access to anything that you may need in the future.
Religion is a very personal, touchy, subject; but since the Supreme court case brought religion and business to the forefront, it is something that you should be willing to address in the interview process, both as an interviewer and potential employee.