American Atheist urges EEOC to expand definition

American Atheists, Inc.
P O Box 140195, Austin, TX 78714-0195
Voice: (512) 458-1244 FAX (512) 467-9525
BBS: (512) 302-0223

American Atheist urges EEOC to expand definition of religious discrimination, religious harassment

For release: May 2, 1994

American Atheists today has demanded that the Equal Employ- ment Opportunity Commission modify its newly issued regulations and guidelines to include protection for Atheists against religious harassment in the workplace.

These demands include the following:

(1) The physical work place, itself, should be religion- free, that is without religious radio programs, signs, framed mottos, pictures, poems, calendars, ornaments, jewelry, bro- chures, crucifixes, Bibles or religious literature, and religious notices (on shared communications boards).

(2) The milieu of the work place should be free of "god- talk," that is singing, humming, or whistling of religious songs or hymns, religious conversations, prayers, and overt medita- tions.

(3) "Holiday" celebrations should not be religion centered. Religious decorations, religious "caroling," and prayers should be eliminated during the Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Passover and Ramadan seasons. At most grouped "Winter" and "Spring" events should be recognized.

(4) Employees should not adorn themselves with religious paraphernalia (yarmulkes, crucifixes, earrings, head scarfs).

(5) Any or all oral or written proselytizing for religion should be forbidden at interpersonal, supervisory, or executive relationship levels.

(6) Pay increments and promotions should be based strictly on job performance and not on association or affiliation with religious persons or groups.

The attention of the EEOC is called to a recent (April 8) 20/20 special on ABC television featuring Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs. In reviewing the safety of mail carriers, the ABC cameras captured a scene in a Los Angeles post office where a supervisor called all employees to a central location there to "hold hands and pray to Jesus Christ" for the safety of the carriers. Neither Ms. Walters nor Mr. Downs found such offensive behavior unusual. This speaks to the current religious domination in federal work places which Atheists should not need to endure.

Religious persons and groups are now addressing the EEOC with the claim that discrimination is practiced against religious persons who desire to evidence, display, or proselytize their religious convictions. Jon Murray, President of American Atheists noted, "This is a joke; the basic disrimination in the work place is against those persons who are not religious.

"Religion is, or ought to be, a private matter. Even with eight hours of employment per day, religious persons still have sixteen hours of time, each day, to perform religious obligations and are, therefore, under no real restriction. Activities related to the religion of any employee should be anathema in any places of employment, government or private.

"It is now recognized that smoking can be injurious to the physical health of non-smokers and consequently it is being eliminated in work areas. Religion should also be eliminated as it is injurious to the emotional and psychological health of persons who are not religious as well as to adherents of minority religions. The problem can be solved by the application of the strict standard of No Religion in the work place.

"Now that all polling reveals that 10 percent of the population of the nation is not religious, the right to their freedom from religion must be guarded by this regulatory agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission."

For more information, contact: Jon G. Murray, President, American Atheists, (512) 458-1244

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