Thursday, 20 March 2014

When Church Comes To The Workplace


So my friend whose spouse works with an HMO called me last week Friday and told me a very upsetting and utterly bizarre story. This HMO just introduced a new company policy, wait for this – they’ve decided all employees stay back 1-2 hours after work to pray. This prayer happens from Monday to Friday and is compulsory for all employees. Guest Pastors are invited to preach during these services and not surprisingly, the company also collects offerings. Last week Friday was anointing service where employees were practically bullied to come out and receive ‘anointing.

These same employees are expected to show up by 8am every workday and are penalized 2,500 naira for everyday they show up late. The management of this company is so inspired by these sessions that the company gates are padlocked at 5pm so workers can't go home.

I’m wondering... ‘What about the Muslims in their midst who worship a different God and the atheists who believe there is none? What about those who come from the outskirts ‘Mowe, Ikorodu, Ikotun etc. and travel 3-4 hours daily  to and from the company’s Victoria Island office?’

That this is a highly discriminatory policy and one that violates health and safety standards is not in doubt. What I’m not too sure of is how an employee in such an organization can deal with this kind of issue other than resigning. If you are a HR practitioner or someone versed in employment law and you have practical steps on how to deal with this, I’ll really love to hear from you. Lives need to be saved here…


©Naomi Lucas

36 comments:

elias durosinmi said...

Hmmm Naomi Muslim wordship one God same with christains only the methodology is quite different .just tot i correct you on that.Nice write up

'Lara said...

Sadly our employment laws are not properly implented and I am sure the company HR in also scared of losing his/her job because this is so wrong.

Dayo Adefila said...

Hi Naomi, thanks for re-discovering your bloggers voice! Yes, it's ironic that indeed some 'lives need to be saved' when the people or authorities breaking the Nigerian Labour Law policies are doing so..in an attempt to 'save lives' I guess. Spiritual studies are personal and should not be imposed. Certainly not at the work place. If it were a Church then it would be expected. The staff at your friends office who agree to this perhaps do so from fear of loss of employment (which is at a very high level now - remember NIS) but like you pointed out...what if there's a fire during the 'hot' prayer session and the key to the padlock at the gate is misplaced in the panic? What then? Hopefully you will get specific information about the laws of the land so your friend at this work place can use it to 'save more lives'. Cheers.

Naomi Lucas said...

Em... okay.

Naomi Lucas said...

Thanks Dayo. I really hope this is fixed asap.

Naomi Lucas said...

Yeah. Any HR personnel implementing this kind of policy must be doing so under duress...

Anonymous said...

I am fully aware of the particular organization that you referred to in your article. I totally kick against this religious initiative given as other forms of staff union are not permitted in the organization...by the way the directive is not from the CEO rather its from Vice Chairman of the Board!!! so much is wrong here clearly.....I also am digging deep to find specific laws that address this sad issue

Naomi Lucas said...

Wow. Thanks anon for the correction. I'll update my post with that info. God bless...

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Naomi. It really irks my spirit when I hear of injustices such as this. And shrouding it under the guise of Christianity makes it even more distasteful. Even churches don't force people to worship so why should a corporate organization? I belive this company should be named and shamed and if they belive they are morally or legally correct, they should tell us Why staff shd be forced to work overtime. Cos that's how I view it. Are they being paid extra for the extra time spent? That's the only justification I can think of that would make any sense! And even then, it ought to be voluntary.
Organizations in this country are allowed to get away with all sorts because they grant people employment. The proletariat have rights too!!!

Naomi Lucas said...

Thanks anon. I believe Nigerian employers know how bad the job situation is in the country, thats why they do the things they do. And employees are so afraid of losing their jobs they'll take about anything...

Anonymous said...

Hi Naomi,

Thanks for the information. This is an infringement on the human rights law. The business owner should think of some other way to scam people for money and not his employes in the name of prayer. As matter of fact I believe this has nothing to do with him being a christian but him using religion as a means to extort money from people. My advice the staff should wake up as one body and all resign, it will be much easier and less painful than a law suit as the judicial system is work in progress.

Anonymous said...

To Elias Durosinmi, Islam and Christianity are not the same, the systems of worship which are different cannot be then geared towards the same God.
It's okay to say things as they really are.

Anonymous said...

Hi Naomi! I've been so busy attending interviews and studying Aptitude test questions that I haven't had time to reach you.
I can relate to this.Since I got back from Kogi, I've attended strange interviews. There was one I attended at Ikorodu; the interviewer said he was a pastor, that his calling on earth is to raise Accountants for the kingdom of heaven, that I need deliverance, that he could sense my spirit was too strong for him, that I was possessed, that he would make me his spiritual daughter and I would come live with him in ikorodu; He was offering me 15000 and told me to go and think about the offer, that God led me to him: I never called back. I just quit a job before I even started. In this new place at Opebi, the staff were required to pray from 7am-9:30am. All manner of die-by-fire prayers. I endured that place for a week before I was transferred to another branch at a place called 'Amukoko' headed by a muslim/juju priest. All manner of charms decorated the office, computers and under all chairs. I practically begged one of the staff to borrow a chair for me from across the street. I was expected to pay homage to the charms before I could begin work. Salary was 30000 and I would be working six days a week from 7am-9pm. I walked out of there without a backward glance. That was on Monday. And I'm still searching.

Naomi Lucas said...

I just didn't want to drag the matter :)

Naomi Lucas said...

My major concern is that he made it compulsory...

Naomi Lucas said...

Jesus is Lord. I don't even know what to say...

MrEbis said...

name this organisation, let's channel this to the right quarters. Nigerians get quickly used to suffering and Smiling.

Echezona Emmanuel said...

OMG! This is sad. We have all had to endure one form of injustice or the other by Shylock employers in our work life. Yet that does not make this particular case of man's inhumanity to man right. The workers sans the saboteurs (because they abound) have to stand up, present a common front to fight this. If they don't, nobody else will.

Naomi Lucas said...

i've decided to provide the details of the organization to those who have offered to take this up. I think its better that way...

Oderinlo Abidemi said...

It's not as easy as it is said... sometimes we need a stronger hand to rescue and normalise situations. Dear Naomi, kindly furnish us with the organization info... There is the office of the public defender and quite a number of lawyers that will not only ensure it's stops, but also define an injunction that prevents the employer from sacking this employees on the ground of religious hypocrisy.

Oderinlo Abidemi said...

It's not as easy as it is said... sometimes we need a stronger hand to rescue and normalise situations. Dear Naomi, kindly furnish us with the organization info... There is the office of the public defender and quite a number of lawyers that will not only ensure it's stops, but also define an injunction that prevents the employer from sacking this employees on the ground of religious hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

You can contact @LegalNaija for some legal advice on how it can be properly handled because human rights are trampled on here and we don't have the most effective trade unions but that's another option. Report them to the appropraite labour union.

Anonymous said...

Technically, its the same God! Methodology very different! But same prophets mainly, adam, eve, egypt etc..........all the same! Don't ask me why its different tho! Ask Baba God who actively or passively may actually be responsible for the confusion!

Anonymous said...

I think God should just come down and settle the matter! Agnostic things!

Naomi Lucas said...

I agree with you Oderinlo. Send me your email address, I'll forward you all the details you need. Thanks..

Naomi Lucas said...

Thanks anon. I'n doing that right away...

Naomi Lucas said...

@Echezona, you know how it is... workers so afraid of losing their jobs they can't speak out. I agree with Oderinlo that a stronger hand is needed to rescue and normalize things...

Naomi Lucas said...

Are you sure it's not we humans that are confused? maybe the guy upstairs is seeing everything clearly oh, LOL

Naomi Lucas said...

Er...okay. I thinks it's we humans that have muddled things up oh...

Anonymous said...

Then my dear, he really needs to unravel it all quickly b4 we kill and hate each other over our different religious ideologies! Like u said, I'm definately confused!

Naomi Lucas said...

As in ehn... It's actually sad how we mortals thing we have everything figured out and the other person doesn't know any better...

drako said...

Yes maaam! Didn't expect a different answer from you! Its well tho! "To each his own!"...have a lovely evening!

rasak aiye said...

This is so wrong in all level, Thanks for sharing Naomi

Naomi Lucas said...

My pleasure rasak

John Igbinovia said...

I kinda feel issues are being muddled up here.
In saner climes, the company would be very afraid to literally imprison people for religious reasons - and employees would not be scared of getting fired because they would be protected by labour laws.
In saner climes...

Like Rasak has said, it is wrong on all levels to force people to conform to one's religion.

Tessa Doghor said...

While it is apparent that what you are saying is true.
What is sad is that everyone likes to criticize church.

It is appalling
See comments.