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Religion and the Workplace: A Social Science Perspective

14 Pages Posted: 2 May 2009  

Kenneth D. Wald

University of Florida

Date Written: April 30, 2009


Contrary to the expectations of secularization theory, the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries saw an increase in the political engagement of religious commitment around the globe. In the legal realm, this upsurge of religiously-based political conflict has become evident in demands by workers that employers respect and honor their religious rights in the workplace. From a social scientific perspective, the Nantes papers about religion in the workplace indicate that (1) the legal status accorded such claims reflects the general position of religion in the legal culture of each nation rather than any specialized body of employment law; (2) the religion recognized in law, usually based on the dominant religious tradition of the nation, often differs from and conflicts with the "lived religion" of adherents who file claims of religious discrimination, and (3) such claims are challenging because they often represent an integralist form of religiosity which is in tension with legal norms.

Suggested Citation

Wald, Kenneth D., Religion and the Workplace: A Social Science Perspective (April 30, 2009). Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Kenneth D. Wald (Contact Author)

University of Florida ( email )

POB 117325
Gainesville, FL 3261-7325
United States
352-219-5925 (Phone)


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