Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Letters To The Editor

February 8, 2012

Editor''s note:

A recent discussion on the Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online Bulletin Board dealt with idea of religion in the workplace.

The debate on whether or not religion and the broader notion of spirituality belong in the workplace follows below.

Posted by:
Amanda Martini-Hughes
1/3/2012

Does religion have its place in the workplace?

According to the article, "God Wants You To Work Harder," by James Dennis Lorusso, there is a growing belief among advocates that says, "Bringing spirituality into the culture of business will not only enhance the quality of individual working lives, but also drastically alter the broader conduct of business across the planet."

This raises the question, "What religion; all religion?"

How is religion looked at in your business or facility?

Are there current or past issues among differing religions in your place of work?

If so, how do you deal with those issues?

Is it easy or difficult for a person practicing a particular religion to get important religious holidays off?

In a culture and society that is growing more diverse every day, is religion something that should have more of a presence in the workplace?


Responses:
Ken Galo
1/3/2012

Religion is a personal choice, and we respect the rights of our employees in making that choice.

It is against the law to ask about those choices before employment.

It is against our policy to discuss those choices during employment, and it is also our policy to not allow employees to advocate their beliefs to their co-workers during their time on the clock.

It has proven to lead to numerous distractions, fights and arguments that disrupt the overall workplace environment, much like politics, which is also discouraged from being pushed, discussed or advocated while at work.

Our view is that we all don''t believe the same things, we all don''t vote the same way, but we all better clean the same way.

That is achieved by minimizing distractions, and non-work-related topics/issues is one those distractions.


Ed Samson
1/4/2012

I agree with Ken: Religion is personal and should not be in the workplace.

And, I can''t think of another comment that wouldn''t offend someone on one side of the aisle or the other.


Garth
1/4/2012

You may hope to keep religion out of your workplaces, but you are avoiding Amanda''s question.

She wants to know how religion is going to affect business going into the future.

It is a very real part of life and comes into the workplace whether we wish it or not; it colors our communication at work, our actions at work and our relationships at work.

Tim Tebow even brings it to the football field.

Hoping it isn''t there won''t keep it from being a part of the experience of many of the people who work with and for us.

Personally, there is no way I want to exist without religion.

It is more of who I am than any other individual factor, and it influences everything I think, do and say — wherever I am.

I think Amanda brings up a valid point of discussion, and I want to hear what others think about it.

As we become an ever more global community, you can bet that there are many we will do business with who will care very much about religion and who are not limited by any laws in asking such questions as are prohibited in our country.

I look forward to more of this discussion; it intrigues me greatly.

Also, there is this additional point: The quote uses the word "spirituality," not religion — which may be altogether different.

It opens up a lot of room for discussion.

Bring it on.


David Hebert
1/5/2012

Religion is manmade spirituality or believing in what God says is not.

Politics might as well be a religion because everyone has their idea and no one is completely right or honest enough to say they do not have all the answers.


Garth
1/5/2012

David,

You mean it isn''t? I think there are a lot of people who take their politics more seriously than their religion.


Ken Galo
1/6/2012

So, following the line of total acceptance, tolerance and observance, I will end up giving paid holidays on the summer and winter solstice because every employee will suddenly become a Wiccan?

We are in the cleaning business; we dust desks, sweep floors, vacuum rugs, etc.

Use your own time to stump for candidates or for following your spiritual path.

See you in Valhalla.


Garth
1/6/2012

I''m curious Ken: What are the consequences if employees do discuss such topics while on the job?

And, if politics and religion are taboo, what about sports, war and community involvement — all of which can cause some emotional responses?

Do you really expect people to become autobots; do you really want that?

It almost sounds like you are against the First Amendment, which I find hard to believe.

Please clarify, because that is what it sounds like.

I don''t know you, except what I have read through the years of your responses on this board; this doesn''t come across as reasonable as most of your responses.


Ed Samson
1/6/2012

In my opinion, nothing good will come from discussing this topic.

Religion has been behind many wars in this world and it is not likely that this forum will resolve any issues.

For those who wish to enter the fray, "Bring it on," as Garth said.


Ken Galo
1/7/2012

There are no repercussions for discussions and, obviously, I cannot see or hear every conversation taking place in every building every night.

Our policy is open tolerance, but we will not allow employees to use work time to distribute pamphlets, literature or any other item that promotes anything from Avon to Stonehenge worship.

Again, you''re here to clean.

In the parking lot, you can light all the candles and incense you want to your political or religious deity; that''s your time, not mine.

I''m with you Ed; it''s why we push to avoid any pushing at work.

Some folks just don''t know when to quit.

Past experience with a diverse workforce has proven that some topics just do not belong in the workplace where you run the risk of offending co-workers.


Joseph Russell
1/9/2012

Some people say, "There ain''t no hell," while others say, "The hell there ain''t."

Beliefs are usually non-negotiable until the day comes when you get knocked off your horse by a cross in the sky.

The discussion is futile anywhere outside your church or Sunday school.

Everywhere else, follow the gospel of John and Paul: Let It Be.


Garth
1/9/2012

Going back to the original post: "Bringing spirituality into the culture of business will not only enhance the quality of individual working lives, but also drastically alter the broader conduct of business across the planet."

Does everyone else disagree with this premise?

If so, I will also stand alone, for I do believe that spirituality will enhance the quality of individual working lives.

And, I hope for a day when it does indeed alter the conduct of business across the planet.

The greatest lesson I have learned in this business happened one morning at 5 a.m. some 20 years ago while cleaning toilets.

An old man I had never seen before, nor ever saw again, stood in the doorway watching me.

After a few minutes, he asked what I was doing.

"Cleaning toilets," I responded.

"No, you are not," came his answer.

When I asked what he thought I was doing, he said — and I will never forget — "You are creating attitudes."

Whenever someone asks me what I do, that is what I answer: "I create attitudes."