Paganism (or Neo-Paganism) is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of religions and practices that fall outside of major world religions that are centered around traditional, pre-Christian folk belief systems, such as Wicca, Heathenry, and Hellenic Paganism. These religions can have holidays. Sabbaths, and visual indicators that differ from what is considered the “default” for most office environments. This blog will cover the religious rights of Pagans in the workplace, such as requesting time off for holidays.
Pagans can sometimes encounter discrimination or harrassment in the workplace upon disclosure of their religion, ranging from stereotyping and negative comments to not being allowed to wear religious symbols (such as pentacles, depictions of Mjǫllnir, Ankhs, etc.) or being fired for their beliefs. If you’re Pagan (or a member of any religion) and feel that you are being discriminated against for your religion in your workplace, there are several options to address that. One way is to contact your Human Resources department to discuss the resources they have available and options for addressing instances. Another option available (especially in cases of being fired) would be to contact a lawyer, because employees are protected from discrimination based on religion in the workplace through title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If you believe that you were denied a job opportunity due to your religion, you can also contact the Equal Employment Opportunities Commision (EEOC) to discuss next steps.
If you need to take time off for holidays that aren’t on your workplace’s calendar, such as the solstices or Wiccan sabbats, you can discuss options for schedule changes with your supervisor to accommodate your practices, much like any other religion. You can also ask Human Resources about company policies related to time off for religious observance.
Everyone has a right to practice their religion and is protected by law from discrimination based on religion, but that doesn’t stop all forms of discrimination based on religion in the workplace. If you’re concerned about your religion in relation to your career development, you can make an appointment with one of our Career Coaches to discuss these concerns and get advice here: https://career.uconn.edu/meet-with-a-career-coach/