NEW YORK, N.Y. –
NEW YORK, N.Y. – It has become standard practice for U.S. corporations to assure employees of support regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation. There’s now an intensifying push to ensure that companies are similarly supportive and inclusive when it comes to employees’ religious beliefs.
One barometer: More than 20% of the Fortune 100 have established faith-based employee resource groups, according to an AP examination and there’s a high-powered conference taking place this week in Washington aimed at expanding those ranks.
“Corporate America is at a tipping point toward giving religion similar attention to that given the other major diversity categories,” says Brian Grim, founder and president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation that’s co-hosting the conference along with the Catholic University of America's Busch School of Business.
A few companies have long-established faith-in-the-workplace programs, such as Arkansas-based Tyson Foods, which deploys a team of more than 90 chaplains to comfort and counsel employees at its plants and offices. That program began in 2000.
However, Grim says most companies — over the past few decades — have given religion less attention in their diversity/inclusion programs than other categories such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disabilities.
Grim is an associate scholar at the Religious Liberty Project at Georgetown University and a former senior researcher with the Pew Research Center. From 2015-16, he served as chair of the World Economic Forum’s global agenda council on the role of faith.
Grim’s foundation, founded in 2014, recently completed a detailed analysis ranking the Fortune 100 companies on their commitment to religious inclusion as part of those programs.