Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Everything Else » Chit Chat

Subject: Is this job question legal? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Carol Carpenter
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I was just looking at the job ads and saw this for a nonprofit. Are they allowed to ask this??:


It is also very important that all employees are able to subscribe to our mission statement…"To empower Chinese families in and around Boston, with a focus on immigrant communities, bridging cultures and generations with a holistic Christian approach." If you are a Christian, please include in your cover letter, a little bit about your faith. If you are not a Christian, please tell us a little bit about your spirituality (5 sentences minimum).


3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ookami Snow
United States
Kansas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Is the question you have because they are nonprofit?

I would think they could ask for this stuff if it is actually relevant to the job...
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
VA
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Plate of Shrimp.
badge
Here we are folks, the dream we all dream of.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
starspangledgirl wrote:
I was just looking at the job ads and saw this for a nonprofit. Are they allowed to ask this??:


It is also very important that all employees are able to subscribe to our mission statement…"To empower Chinese families in and around Boston, with a focus on immigrant communities, bridging cultures and generations with a holistic Christian approach." If you are a Christian, please include in your cover letter, a little bit about your faith. If you are not a Christian, please tell us a little bit about your spirituality (5 sentences minimum).




It sure is strange, but it would mean that I would not apply for that job, which is exactly what they would want.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy McBoatface
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
KGS is the #1 web site for playing go over the internet. Visit now!
badge
Yes, I really am that awesome.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kinross_19 wrote:
Is the question you have because they are nonprofit?

I would think they could ask for this stuff if it is actually relevant to the job...
It is hard to imagine any job, other than chaplain, religious instructor, etc., where the applicant's beliefs are relevant.

This bothers me (and I suspect Carol also) because I have encountered the opinion from some Christians that you must be Christians in order to be a moral person. I consider myself to be moral. My morals come from a goal of making the world a better place, not from a fear of going to hell or a desire to get into heaven. It would be upsetting for somebody to consider me less suited to help people because I'm not a practicing Christian. A request like that on a job application would really set off my alarm bells.

Will this thread be RSP'd?
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Steak Fairy
United States
Columbia
South Carolina
flag msg tools
Games? People still play games??
badge
Specious arguments are not proof of trollish intent.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If it's a faith-based non-profit and the position requires a willingness to propagate any subset of the tenets of the applicable faith, then nobody could ever meaningfully question the legality of that ad's wording. If you were applying for the job of night watchman in their warehouse, or to clean their toilets, etc., you could easily make a case against it.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Mahaffey
United States
Columbia
South Carolina
flag msg tools
designer
GAME ARTIST
badge
GAME ARTIST
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
starspangledgirl wrote:
Are they allowed to ask this??:


Of course.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Pakpreo
United States
Cambridge
MA - Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think I know the organization in question and they ask this because there is a mix of religions that the Chinese believe in. They just want to make sure they place the right people with the right families so they don't offend them/have something basic that they can relate to. It's hard for the Chinese immigrants to come here with nothing and try to make a fresh start. I know of co-workers and co-workers of some of my friends who couldn't adapt well and went back to China. While it is out of the ordinary, it does apply.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
VETRHUS of Rogaland
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
An ash I know, Yggdrasil its name. With water white is the great tree wet; thence come the dews that fall in the dales. Green by Urth's well does it ever grow.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
wmshub wrote:
kinross_19 wrote:
Is the question you have because they are nonprofit?

I would think they could ask for this stuff if it is actually relevant to the job...
It is hard to imagine any job, other than chaplain, religious instructor, etc., where the applicant's beliefs are relevant.

This bothers me (and I suspect Carol also) because I have encountered the opinion from some Christians that you must be Christians in order to be a moral person. I consider myself to be moral. My morals come from a goal of making the world a better place, not from a fear of going to hell or a desire to get into heaven. It would be upsetting for somebody to consider me less suited to help people because I'm not a practicing Christian. A request like that on a job application would really set off my alarm bells.

Will this thread be RSP'd?


Yes, they're allowed to ask this. They're also allowed to hire for a private non-profit on the basis of the applicant's faith.

It would be different, though, if the agency received some sort of state or federal assistance to do their work. If they rely on private grants and funding they have the right (and should have the right) to expect that those they hire meet their mission statement in terms of faith.

It's not about morality in this case. Often it's about theology. They'll likely eliminate people from the hiring process who ARE christians, just as much as those who are NOT christians. This isn't what I consider a best practice, and certainly within the christian world it is a serious abandonment of the principles of unity which are inherent to the faith.

But when a non-profit agencies message contains a theological basis, which this sort of non-profit usually does, it is the core of what they do and their purpose for existence. They usually do the other work of social advocacy in light of their belief, and even other believers whose doctrine differs in ways they see as "significant" would complicate their mission in ways which would take time away from doing the work they hope to accomplish.

It isn't how I believe at this point. I prefer a christian-based entity like Corrymeela in Northern Ireland, whose foundation is inevitably christian, and who are not willing to cast that aside, but whose expression of that faith is so welcoming and confident that they have volunteers who are atheists, buddhists, and other faiths live with them and serve along side them.

That doesn't mean they believe any less in what they believe. This means they are not afraid of other beliefs weakening their own. But it is difficult to live that way in a faith which is inherently absolute. Just sayin'.

That said, I was much more of an evangelical on the fundy side of things when I applied for a job in Milwaukee with a certain denomination of christianity to work as the coordinator of a program for troubled youth with gang/AODA issues.

I had five years experience working with this population of at-risk youth, and education, and a long history of leadership in the christian church, college, etc. I'd been managing a 10-bed unit with 10 staff in a residential facility, coordinating treatment plans, working with AODA programming, etc.

When I had the second interview I was prepared to be asked about faith issues. I had heard in the weeks between that this denomination had a "doctrine of fellowship" that precluded their members from interacting in faith environs with believers of other denominations within the chrisitan body. It was said to risk the weakening of faith, and that those others were essentially misguided apsostates or heretics on some level.

I thought that sounded a bit harsh. So I drove down to Milwaukee for the second interview (four hour drive) prepared to ask about this. There came a point when I was being asked some rather pointed questions about doctrine and I answered them, but I asked a directed question about this "doctrine of fellowship".

The response I got floored me. I would be offered the job if I left my current church home and joined their denomination, and my wife would also have to do the same. Never mind that we had relationships with two other churches in Milwaukee before moving there. That would have to come to an end.

I politely excused myself from the interview, thanked them for their time and left. Later that night in my hotel room I cried bitter tears about this. I had not wanted a job more in my life--I had read their curriculum and it finally gave a reason to the work I had been doing amidst a really solid faith context. At the time I believed this was the ONLY way someone could really change. I believed what they did--apart from that one thing.

Long story short, I wept for the broken communion of the christian faith. I no longer capitalize "christian" because I don't believe Christ would, and I am ashamed of the schizmatic nature of the "body of Christ" which is the opposite of what is outlined in scripture.

A faith which is supposed to be about unity among the brethren has become a bunch of salons catering to every whim and self-interest which folks can bring to the door. This is the reason why that denomination has the "doctrine of fellowship", but their doctrine is just another massive part of the problem.

So don't feel so bad about being asked about faith (whether you have one or not). It's better to know up front that you'd not fit their mission. It could be worse. You could be told that you don't qualify as a member of a mystical communion of faith which is the center of your being by another person claiming to be within that same community.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bela's dead and Vampira won't talk
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MisterCranky wrote:
If it's a faith-based non-profit and the position requires a willingness to propagate any subset of the tenets of the applicable faith, then nobody could ever meaningfully question the legality of that ad's wording. If you were applying for the job of night watchman in their warehouse, or to clean their toilets, etc., you could easily make a case against it.


This, roughly.

Depending on the actual nature of the job, though, this particular case seems more like a legal grey area. Frankly, on the face of it, the "holistic Christian approach" seems like a weasel term to allow this sort of discrimination to me, but it may or may not be legitimate given the precise job duties.

philanthropy.com wrote:
Federal law prohibits job discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, or marital status, which means employers are not allowed to ask about those matters directly during a job interview. The only exception to that is in extremely limited circumstances, says David Oblon, an employment-law lawyer in Arlington, Va. A bona fide occupational qualification may be claimed for certain types of employment, he says. "For example, a church can refuse to hire a Jew to be a minister," Mr. Oblon says. "Being Christian is a bona fide requirement for being a minister. However, a church cannot deny a Jew a job as an administrator or janitor because of his or her religion."


Frankly, I think you'll be better off--and be able to do more genuine good--working for a group that isn't so closed-minded.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carol Carpenter
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks everyone for your responses. I am not applying for this job, but it's interesting to find out that it seems such an application question is indeed legal.

I had an interesting experience a few years ago. A private Baptist school was looking for an English teacher. They told me during the phone interview "We don't require that you are Baptist, but we do require that all teachers attend our church services every Sunday. We want the children to see all their teachers there." At the time, I was really hard up for a job, so I almost agreed, but then I just couldn't go through with it. Also, I don't think it would have done the children any good to see their English teacher scowling and/or bored every Sunday either!

Christian, relevant to your experience: I really like Habitat for Humanity, and volunteered with them for a while. They are up front about being founded and run by Christians, based on Biblical ideas, etc., and they start meetings with prayer, but they also emphasize they are "ecumenical" and welcome everyone's help.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kurt
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Interesting. Is it legal because it's non-profit or a religious organization? Although, I am intrigued that they do open it up to other religions and more interested in the faith aspect (even Christians need to tell them about their faith).

I think this could get a regular for-profit or federally funded company in hot water. I recently went through some training to interview people for our work. We were given a list of questions that were off limits, even if asking casually. Basically, the fear is that if they are turned down for the job and we asked any of those questions, they could conceivably bring a discrimination lawsuit based on it, regardless of whether that was the reason or not.

The questions included:
- Family (married status, kids, plans for kids, etc.)
- Religious beliefs
- Political beliefs
- Basically, just about anything that didn't have to do directly with their job

Obviously, the candidate is free to bring any of that up in the interview, but the interviewer wasn't allowed to ask it as it could be perceived as looking for that reason to discriminate. Anyway, that's how the HR/legal team views it.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Key Locks
United States
McCordsville
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
diehard4life wrote:
Long story short, I wept for the broken communion of the christian faith. I no longer capitalize "christian" because I don't believe Christ would, and I am ashamed of the schizmatic nature of the "body of Christ" which is the opposite of what is outlined in scripture.

A faith which is supposed to be about unity among the brethren has become a bunch of salons catering to every whim and self-interest which folks can bring to the door. This is the reason why that denomination has the "doctrine of fellowship", but their doctrine is just another massive part of the problem.

So don't feel so bad about being asked about faith (whether you have one or not). It's better to know up front that you'd not fit their mission. It could be worse. You could be told that you don't qualify as a member of a mystical communion of faith which is the center of your being by another person claiming to be within that same community.


Truth. I think there are many people who, upon getting to heaven, will be mighty surprised to see who's there.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.