Religion In The Workplace; Is The Right To Express One’s Faith Limited?

A man in Florida was supposedly fired for wearing a button with an American Flag and the phrase “one nation, under God, indivisible…” The man worked for Home Depot as a cashier, said he had worn the button for over a year and around the time he was fired reportedly he had begun to read his Bible during breaks. When he was asked to remove the button he refused and was fired because the company said that expression of employee’s personal beliefs was not allowed according to company policy.

Proponents of the gentleman say that he was far from flaunting his faith that he only wore the button to support his country and a relative who was in the military. Is wearing a button that contains part of the Pledge of Allegiance a violation of one’s freedom of expression? Many would argue that a button mentioning God would not draw much controversy seeing as “God” is mentioned, again, in the Pledge of Allegiance and printed on our currency. So, was this button such a gross violation as to warrant termination from his job?

Those against the button say since he was working for a private company then Home Depot had the right to set a dress code and establish what was proper for employees. Also, the man’s refusal to remove the button when asked is another argument in favor of his termination. The button was on the apron belonging to Home Depot so many feel they have the right to enforce a dress code. Also, the company is reported to have offered him another, patriotic pin, but he refused.

Is this a case of religious persecution or insubordination? Where is the line where religious freedom stops and freedoms are put aside? Would the same result have come from a political pin? On the other hand, doesn’t a company have the right to control what employees wear? Many are wondering why it took a year before the pin became an issue. Arguments are the month before he was fired he began reading a Bible at work and if this is the cause for the button drama then that should fall under religious discrimination. How can religion, especially the Christian faith, which is supposed to permeate throughout an individual’s life be ignored simply when someone goes to his or her place of employment?

People always say, “Never talk politics or religion,” but when do we forgo rights of expression when they don’t affect others negatively? With an increasing amount of religious pluralism in our country should we accept that there are other views out there and begin to move toward a culture where the differences can be courteously talked about and expressed or should we just ignore them altogether?

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Religion in the workplace remains a hot button issue and some do not feel comfortable talking about it. Interestingly, many are bringing religion into the sales business as well. Some hard working sales men and woman are offering their religious preference on business cards and other promotional items. In face, those looking for a Craigslist Charlotte Chevy Silverado are finding more and more ads that finish with “God Bless.”