Discrimination in the Workplace — thoughtful article at WildHunt

WildHunt has an interesting article about discrimination in the workplace here. It’s worth a read. I’ve always chosen to be out as a polytheist. I don’t ever want to be in the position where I can be blackmailed about it, nor do I see it as something to hide. There’s also a didactic function inherent in being out, even if only very quietly so. Still, I’ve been discriminated against on the basis of my religion at work many times: I’ve had bibles left piled up all over my office, I’ve had my office vandalized. Both times I knew it was a fundy christian working at the same department. They were not disciplined by management at all and I was told to forget about it.  I’ve been isolated and alienated from social functions at work. I’ve had verbal harassment. I’m pretty sure it cost me a job. I know it impacted my salary and let’s just say I never made ‘friends’ at work.

When I worked in ballet, it was a non-issue. It only became a problem when I moved into retail (Barnes and Noble, where the two acts of office vandalism and what I would now term a massively hostile work environment occurred, was the worst including having a manager call me aside and wanting, quite aggressively, to know how many Pagans were in the department. I refused to answer as there were four or five of us) and then corporate. Ironically now in academia I’ve had no problems at all (so far). The worst I can say is certain journals refuse to publish my religious studies articles on the grounds I couldn’t possibly be unbiased being polytheist –regardless of how well researched these articles are, or sometimes on the grounds that I’m more a theologian than an anthropologist. I’ve never had a problem in my fairly conservative department and I don’t hide my identity as a polytheist at all. hell, all anyone would have to do is a simple Google search. It may become an issue when I attain my PhD and have to find a job, especially if I intend to teach high school, which is a relevant option for Classicists. That remains to be seen.

For those outside the US reading this, and possibly wondering why religion would even come up in the workplace, allow me to clarify. American workplaces are infested with the same obsession with religion, specifically Christianity, that you see in the media and our political arena. While I find talking about one’s personal life at all at work obnoxious, many Americans find nothing wrong with assuming one to be Christian and/or asking about it in a workplace setting. We have laws against this when it’s coming from management, but not so much when it’s another co-worker. It’s like being married or having children: office mates will pry and if you don’t openly disclose sooner or later they’ll try actively to sniff it out. This is one of the things i loathed about corporate: what i term the office bell jar effect.

When I was working in Human Resources for a major American bank, we had a case where two brokers were fighting. One was a practitioner of Vodou and the other kept accusing this person of putting hexes on her, and complained to management about it, every time something went wrong in her life. HR wanted to laugh it off until I pointed out the immensely hostile workplace this was creating for the Voudoussaint, and the potential for a pending lawsuit. It got resolved pretty quickly but the fact that it even escalated to the point of coming to HR is significant. There’s little respect in this country given to non-Abrahamic religions. Last year, though the ruling was quickly overturned, a judge even ordered a Wiccan mother to put her child in Christian education. We have a very long way to go before we break the back of the Christian right in this country, and an even longer way to go before our religion becomes a non-inssue in the world of social commerce.

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on March 29, 2015, in Community Notes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Don’t forget what happened to Cara Schulz in her recent run for City Council http://sunthisweek.com/2014/10/23/intriguing-information-on-cara-schulz/ Although I do not agree with Cara politically on many issues it would have been the issues that would decide my vote had I lived in Burnsville…..


  2. I remember being harassed at one of the state hospitals where I worked. What was really stupid was the fact that the harasser was beau-coup pay grades below me. May the Gods keep me out of range of JC’s “true believers.” I could have made it really messy for him; but, he had a young family, and I being the better person, did not take it to HR.


  3. Even taking it to HR in some cases does little or nothing, as my own experience has taught me…


  4. I’m a little shocked to hear that this is an issue. In Australia it is very rare, at least to my knowledge, but in our case it’s often an atheist against a religious person. Seems it’s a matter of people using their personal beliefs as an excuse for being a jerk.


  5. Reblogged this on naomiruthwrites and commented:
    A lot of things to think about.
    Some of the reasons why I’m fairly quiet about my non-Abrohamic beliefs.
    But also: why I am grateful for the people I work with at Barnes and Noble, because some people in my store know that I’m polytheistic-ish and they don’t care. One of my co-workers found out I celebrate Yule and came to me to ask me how she could wish me a Happy Yule, because she wasn’t sure of the rules, and still wanted to wish me a happy holiday. It was the sweetest thing. I am so glad that, so far, I have not had to deal with discrimination based on my beliefs, but I will not lie and say that I’m not afraid of discrimination in the future.


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