Faith and Work: Hobby Lobby and AutoZone
(4 pages of text)
Religion in the workplace is of growing interest as more individuals desire to express their spirituality and incorporate their whole selves there. Expression can take a variety of forms as employees and employers attempt to integrate their personal beliefs into their daily work.
This case considers two organizational sides of integrating faith into the workplace: the employee and employer perspectives. The first part of the case takes the perspective of the owner of Hobby Lobby, a privately held arts and crafts company whose founder has always endeavoured to incorporate his Christian beliefs within business practices. The company must react to changes imposed by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that it perceives as contrary to its values. The second part of the case considers religious discrimination experienced by an employee of AutoZone, a distributor and retailer of automobile parts. What is the place of religion in the workplace? How important is it for organizations to adapt to various forms of religious expression?
This case is intended for students in ethics, management and organizational behaviour courses. In the United States, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires businesses to honour religious expression, without placing an undue burden on them. Although spiritually open companies may experience positive organizational outcomes, balancing between operational performance and honouring religious expression is not simple. The case is designed for students to read before class. Each student (or student team) is asked to come up with solutions for positioning an organization to find balance within this tension. The students’ solutions are typically discussed in the first class, with solutions then presented to students. In the second class, students are asked to use the new information to re-develop or modify their solutions.
United States, Large, 2014
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