to balance work and religion
By Neal Learner | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
Aiming to catch more customers, Bank One Corp. recently opened
its Phoenix supermarket branches on Sundays - one of the busiest
grocery shopping days of the week. But when bank employees learned
of the new shift, not all cheered. One teller refused to work
the hours, telling his supervisors it violated his religious
"They said everyone has to work at least some time on Sunday,"
recalls the employee, who asked not to be identified. "Their
reasoning is that by allowing someone to be out on Sunday, that
would show favoritism to that religion. I told them, 'OK, I'll
either have to change to another branch office that isn't open
on Sunday or find another job."
The employee's religion-versus-work dilemma highlights a growing
challenge in the American workplace. Disputes over providing
religious accommodations at work have increased - not only for
Christians but also for America's increasingly diverse religious
adherents. And the burden falls hardest on small businesses.
"It's a common situation, regardless of the size of the
business or type of business, and regardless of whether it's
24/7 or 9-to-5," says Jeanne Goldberg, senior attorney
adviser for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EEOC in fiscal year 2003 received 2,532 charges alleging
religious discrimination - a 75 percent jump over the 1,449
complaints filed in 1993. By contrast, race-based charges, while
more numerous, have declined somewhat over the 10-year period,
with 28,526 charges filed in 2003 compared with 31,695 in 1993.
A typical religious accommodation charge involves an employee
seeking to swap shifts with another employee to attend a Sabbath
observance, explains Ms. Goldberg. "They've arranged the
accommodation on their own, but the employer will not permit
that voluntary swap," she says. "It's a very common
type of claim."
For years, Christians have filed complaints about working on
Sundays and Jews about Saturday shifts, says Peggy Mastroianni,
EEOC's associate legal counsel. "Now the other kind of
case we're seeing ... is Muslim employees who need to go to
prayer on Friday. They may not need the entire day off, but
it might be a two- to three-hour period in the middle of the
Federal law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations
for workers' religious needs, unless it imposes an undue hardship
on the company. Most cases that end up in court involve disputes
over what constitutes an undue hardship, Goldberg says.
At the same time, employers are naturally cautious about making
an exception for one individual. "We look at what the possible
ramifications are for the whole workforce," says Ms. Mixon-Page,
who is now manager of human resources for Missouri Consolidated
Healthcare Plan in Jefferson, Mo. "You have to be careful
about setting precedents."
Large employers usually have enough staff to make accommodations,
she says. But for the small employer, it's a different story.
"If everyone has a different religious affiliation, and
each one comes with his own set of observances, then, from a
staffing prospective, you could be in for a difficult time,"
Religious diversity trend
Some experts predict that workforce conflicts over religion
will grow. "This is a problem that is going to get bigger
and bigger because it's demographically driven," says Georgette
Bennett, president of the New York-based Tanenbaum Center, which
advises workplaces on religious diversity issues.
Changing immigration patterns are boosting the number of people
from parts of the world with less familiar religious beliefs
and practices, she says. For example, immigration from Asia
represented 26 percent of the total in 2002 compared with just
9 percent in 1970. European immigration, meanwhile, dropped
to 14 percent in 2002 from 62 percent in 1970. The workforce
also is aging, she adds. The older people get, the more important
religion becomes to them, Ms. Bennett says, citing research
by national polling companies.
Despite these factors, only about 4 percent of firms have policies
that specifically deal with religious accommodations, according
to a recent Tanenbaum survey of human resource professionals.
Like many companies, Bank One includes religion as one of many
factors in a policy that prohibits discrimination or harassment
of any kind, says Thomas Kelly, spokesman for the bank. Scheduling
issues are handled case by case, he says.
After some back-and-forth between the Phoenix bank teller and
his supervisors, the bank finally agreed to let him either swap
shifts with a co-worker or transfer to another branch office.
He opted for the latter, noting that he didn't want to force
a colleague to do something he was opposed to himself. "I'm
going to take a lateral move to get out of working on Sunday,"
he says. "It's not better, it's not worse. It's just inconvenient
to have to change."
Nursing Shortage - Opportunities In Health Care.
At 2.5 million
strong, Nursing is the largest group of health care professionals
in the United States. Labor statistics indicate however, that
in the near future there will be a problem with the supply of
registered nurses as a result of declining enrollments in nursing
programs and aging of the nursing workforce. The demand for
nurses will remain high, with hundreds of positions unfilled
- strongly affecting health care organizations well into the
in a career in Nursing? Read on.
Nursing has many definitions, but the essence of nursing is
that nurses combine the art of caring with the science of health
care. Nursing places its focus not only on a particular health
problem, but on the whole patient and his or her response to
treatment. Care of the patient and a firm base of scientific
knowledge are indispensable elements.
What do Nurses do?
Nurses work in many different areas, but the common thread of
nursing is the nursing process - the essential core of how a
registered nurse delivers care.
This process involves 5 steps:
assessment: collecting and analyzing physical, psychological
and sociocultural data about a patient;
diagnosis: making a judgment on the cause, condition
and path of the illness;
planning: creating a care plan which sets specific
implementation: supervising or carrying out the actual
evaluation: continuous assessment of the plan.
How to Prepare for a Career in Nursing
Nursing is a rewarding but highly technical field. Nurses must
know not only the health sciences, but also how to plan, organize,
and educate patients and their families. Students who wish to
prepare for a nursing career should give particular attention
to math, biology, and chemistry; computer science; and the behavioral
and social sciences.
Registered Nurses must graduate from an accredited school of
nursing. Nursing education includes study in nursing theory
and techniques, the science and treatment of disease, and several
specialty areas. It also includes hands-on clinical practice
in hospitals or other settings.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is
a four-year university-based degree. It is strongly recommended
as the base for the full range of nursing practice and responsibilities,
in the widest number of settings.
The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is a two-year
program which prepares individuals for a more defined range
of practice settings and roles. It is usually offered through
Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) have received
further education, usually at the Master's level, in advanced
roles, specialty areas or research.
Not all people enter nursing studies directly from high school.
Today's students often enter nursing later in life, have degrees
in other fields or are changing careers. Many can only attend
college part-time. For this reason, many nursing schools offer
joint degree or ladder programs, or credit for relevant experience.
Flexible scheduling is also more common. Check with your nursing
school for exact requirements.
Upon graduation, every nurse must pass a national examination
to obtain a license to practice and use the title of R.N.; state
Boards of Nursing administer these exams. Continuing education
to maintain competency throughout the career is recommended,
and required in some states.
There is a wide variety of nursing specialty areas; you will
certainly be able to find one to fit any interest you have.
Examples include: surgery, emergency, pediatric, psychiatric,
school, public health, nurse-midwives, and others. Note that
some specialty areas require additional experience, study or
Nurses are needed not only in hospitals, but in home health
agencies, long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, managed
care centers, and in community health. Educating patients &
their families in preventive care is highly important. Demands
for advanced practice nurses are growing in many areas; some
APNs are opening their own practices.
Nurses have never been more important to health care than they
are today. They must be well-educated, adaptable, and able to
act as patient advocates. Nurses should be prepared for leadership
roles in managing resources to promote better health care for
their patients, whatever the location or setting.
Contact: National Student Nurses Association: http://www.nsna.org/
you need to know about Salary Negotiations
what you're worth before the interview. A good way to find out
the going rates for someone in your position would be to do
a search on the major jobboards for similar positions and see
what other employers are offering.
also dozens of WebSites now that list salary and compensation
even allows you to get a Personal Salary Report that can tell
you what you're worth in the city you live in.
be the first to bring it up.
Never bring up pay issues during the first interview unless
asked by the interviewer. The main goal of a first interview
is to make them want to bring you back for a second interview.
Making them want you allows you to negotiate more from strength
later on in the process.
the employer's expectations of you
Buy knowing what the interviewer expects of you in the position
you will have a much better understanding of what you will be
doing, therefore giving you a much better handle on what types
of compensation to seek. For example if the employer sees your
position leading to director down the road and you are interviewing
for the manager level, you can ask for more salary up front,
since you'll probably being doing the work of a director from
is it that you really want most?
Would you be willing to trade a $1000 in base or so for an extra
week of paid vacation? Do you really want stock options and
a 75-hour workweek or the comfort of 9-5 hours and 15 minute
commute. Knowing what is most important to you in advance of
an interview will help you along both the interview process
and salary negotiating process.
how to respond to the question, "What are you making now?"
What you make now includes many different facets of compensation
such as; base salary, bonus potential, paid vacations, tuition
reimbursements, car allowances, differing health plan costs
and much more. Do your homework!! Know what your true compensation
is before the interview.
what you are leaving behind
Are you leaving a bonus on the table? What about 401k matches?
Are they the same or do they differ? More often than not a company
will make up these with a sign-on bonus, or guaranteed performance
bonus of some sort or other provisions to "make you whole."
negotiate your exit clause
Depending on your level in the company you may be able to negotiate
a severance package up front. While this may be hard for an
individual contributor than someone in management, it is still
a point to address. And yes it is hard to discuss you leaving
the company before you have even started, so don't dwell on
this point in the negotiation process.
The best compensation negotiations are when it's a win-win for
both parties, when each side feels they're getting what they
want. The company gets a great new employee who will provide
solutions to existing issues, and you get a new job where you
can contribute and where you are compensated fairly and correctly.
If you are working with a third party recruiter let them do
the salary and compensation negotiations for you, as they can
broach subjects for you that you can't, and can help keep the
negotiations on a pleasant and even keel. After all you have
to begin working with the employer come some Monday morning
in the future.
your deal maker / deal breaker
Realize in most cases you can only go back with one-maybe two
counter proposals. So know what your "deal maker"
is. That one item that will make you say yes, that you have
to have in order to work for this company.
it in writing
Typically known as an offer letter or letter of intent, most
all companies will provide one if you ask. All this is a confirmation
of the deal that the two parties have struck laying out all
the points in writing so there are no disagreements down the
road. The document should be signed by an officer of the company
and include all the details: base salary, bonus potential, options,
vacation, relocation package if any, etc.
Lose Better Jobs Faster as Middle-Class Work Drops
among blacks is rising at a faster pace than in any similar
period since the mid-1970's, and the jobs lost have been mostly
in manufacturing, where the pay for blacks has historically
been higher than in many other fields.
Nearly 2.6 million jobs have disappeared over all during the
last 28 months, which began with a brief recession that has
faded into a weak recovery. Nearly 90 percent of those lost
jobs were in manufacturing, according to government data, with
blacks hit disproportionately harder than whites. At the same
time, jobless black Americans have been unusually persistent
about staying in the labor force.
millions of jobs in the booming 1990's, they have continued
to look for new ones in the soft economy, and so are counted
now as unemployed; if they gave up trying to find work, they
would not be counted. These two phenomena help to explain why
the black unemployment rate, though still not high by historic
standards, is rising twice as fast as that of whites, and faster
than in any downturn since the mid-1970's recession.
workers and women who went from welfare to work in the 1990's
have largely kept their jobs; factory breadwinners have borne
the pain, men and women alike.
number of jobs and the types of jobs that have been lost have
severely diminished the standing of many blacks in the middle
class," said William Lucy, president of the Coalition of
Black Trade Unionists. In Indianapolis, for example, Autoliv,
a Swedish manufacturer of seat belts, is closing a plant and
laying off 350 workers, more than 75 percent of them black.
Many are young adults who were hired in the late 1990's when
the unemployment rate in Indianapolis was only 2 percent and
Autoliv, to recruit enough workers to expand production, hired
young men without high school diplomas.
were taken from the street into decent-paying jobs; they were
making $12 to $13 an hour," said Michael Barnes, director
of an A.F.L.-C.I.O. training program that helps laid-off workers
in Indiana search for new jobs. "These young men started
families, dug in, took apartments, purchased vehicles. It was
an up-from-the-street experience for them, and now they are
being returned to their old environment."
It is not
only the recently hired who are losing jobs. So are tens of
thousands of textile workers in the South, many with long tenure,
as production in the industry shifts to China and India.
are mostly black men and women who were earning $11 an hour
plus benefits in small towns where other jobs, if there are
any, do not pay as well. "This is not like the cyclical
downturns in the old days, when you got furloughed for a few
weeks and then recalled," said Jared Bernstein, a senior
economist at the Economic Policy Institute. "These jobs
are gone, and that represents a potentially significant slide
in living standards." Black employment in manufacturing,
once concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast, is now spread
across every state as companies have migrated to lower-wage
towns and cities. With an increasing number of these companies
migrating again, this time overseas in search of yet lower labor
costs, the job loss in manufacturing has intensified.
the setbacks, black Americans have not diminished their presence
in the labor force. During the late 1990's, the percentage of
black Americans who were in the labor force that is, either
held jobs or were actively looking for them and therefore counted
as unemployed rose by two percentage points to more than 68
percent, the highest level on record. Significantly, in the
subsequent downturn that high participation rate has held.
that the number of black people looking for jobs is higher now
than in previous eras a statistic that some analyst see as a
reason for optimism. "People are coming out of a favorable
labor market," said William Spriggs, executive director
of the National League for Opportunity and Equality. "They
are still optimistic, and they are more skilled, which means
they are more willing to continue to look for work."
see suffering in the same data. Not since the Depression has
the nation's work force contracted for so many months after
a recession began. "Reluctance may be part of the reason
blacks are not leaving the labor force," Mr. Bernstein
said, acknowledging Mr. Spriggs's point. "But you leave
a lousy labor market because you can afford to do so, and in
a jobless recovery that has persisted for so long, many blacks
don't have the savings to make a go of it without a paycheck."