Not liable for staffers' religious acts, say firms

Corporates say work culture is about targets, not faith.

Hyderabad: There is no provision in the Companies Act that deals with the faith or religion of an employee, which makes it impossible for them to deal with any religious act of the employee.

Across India, there is an uproar in corporate offices over the Noida police holding companies responsible for the religious act of their employees. The order of the Noida police to industries and companies in Uttar Pradesh that the company will be held responsible if their employees are found offering namaz in public places has created quite a stir.

The Nodia police sent notices to 23 private firms located under its jurisdiction, asking them to stop Muslim employees from offering Friday namaz at a local park. The district administration had on Tuesday said “unauthorised” religious gatherings would not be allowed at public places.

Mr Bharani Kumar Aroll, general secretary of Society of Cyber Security Council, said, “There is no way a company can be held responsible. Companies do not talk about religion with their employees. There is only an informal understanding between the employer and employee in terms of prayer timings where permission is taken. There is no preferential treatment for anyone of any religion.”

A head of human resource of a company said on condition of anonymity that work culture is about goals and targets.

Some multi-national companies do not allow any sort of religious rituals on their premises. They are very clear that it is a place of work and must not be imbued with any kind of tradition.

Mr Kishore Vaid, senior manager at a sports company, explained, “Companies do not take into account any religious practice. Work culture is about meeting goals, setting targets and elevating to the next level. In that scenario, the company can’t be held responsible for the religious act of an employee in a public place. This would put companies in a fix.”

The relationship with employees would get strained and it would affect the work output. It would unnecessarily create an uncomfortable atmosphere in the work place.

The culture of Hyderabad has prevented such problems, and companies state that if the government wants employee-friendly companies it must refrain from bringing religion into play at work places.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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