Corporations and companies may claim that they are promoting freedom of speech and harmony in the workplaces among all employees, but a new survey reveals that 60% of employees are fearful of sharing their religious views in the workplace.
The Freedom at Work Survey, taken last fall, polled more than 3,000 adults employed across a wide variety of professions and found that 3 of 5 respondents say that respectfully expressing religious or political viewpoints—especially ones company heads don’t agree with—would result in negative repercussions, and possible employment termination.
And that’s not just at work, either. It’s even while off the clock, including comments on social media.
The survey was commissioned as part of Alliance Defending Freedom’s Viewpoint Diversity Score initiative. The survey suggests that companies “might be” alienating their workforce by taking political stands on contentious social issues like abortion, the LGBTQ agenda and critical race theory, as well as Christianity itself, among others.
The Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index says that the survey is the “first comprehensive benchmark designed to measure corporate respect for religious and ideological diversity in the marketplace, workplace and public square.
“Employees shouldn’t fear that their religious or political views could cost them their job,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President for Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco. “Yet these survey results show that a significant number of employees do. We created the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index to help companies measure and improve their respect for religious and viewpoint diversity.
And, Tedesco says, there are steps companies can take to win back their employees’ trust, as well as minimize for “negative consequences and avoid preemptively chilling the speech of the workforce.
“Companies could make big strides … by doing four things:
- Adopt our model religious accommodation policy.
- Adopt our model policy protecting employees’ exercise of their civil rights outside work.
- Include religious charities in employee charitable giving programs.
- Participate in the survey portion of the Business Index, which asks companies to disclose internal policies and practices that implicate civil liberties.”
The survey reveals that more than half of all employees (54%) say they fear that sharing political content on their own social media accounts could result in negative consequence in their workplace. Viewpointdiversityscore.org says that “Data collected on Fortune 1000 companies’ policies and practices as part of the Viewpoint Diversity Score 2022 Business Index demonstrates that employees have good reason to fear: Of 50 benchmarked companies, only one—Paychex—confirms that it respects employees’ civil rights outside of work.”
Important questions are raised as to whether such companies are violating employees’ rights protected under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and that the survey’s findings come at a time when many companies are facing unprecedented challenges in recruiting and retaining talent.
In essence, post-pandemic, employees or potential employees have become leery and much more savvy of many companies’ practices and are steering clear of those companies in fear of future repercussions.
The survey showed these revealing statistics:
- Large majorities (60% and 64%) say that respectfully expressing religious or political viewpoints would “likely or somewhat likely” carry negative consequences on their employment.
- Employees believe these negative consequences for expressing religious viewpoints most often include hostile treatment from colleagues or supervisors (19%), as well as exclusion from professional development or advancement opportunities within the company (12%).
- Employees believe these negative consequences for expressing political viewpoints also most often include hostile treatment from colleagues or supervisors (18%), as well as exclusion from professional development or advancement opportunities within the company (12%).
Companies’ public stances on hot-button issues are often at odds with their workforce and customers. In other words, refuse to use the proper pronouns and you are either harassed, chastised or even fired. Speak about Jesus and the same consequences rear their ugly heads.
- A plurality (44%) say they are uncomfortable with their employer taking a stance on a hot-button cultural issue that contradicts the views of many employees and customers.
- A majority (64%) say companies should not be able to coerce their employees to affirm or celebrate social or political views that violate their personal beliefs.
Whatever your views or your company’s views, this survey is indeed a revealing one.
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Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.
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