Communal workplace kitchens may soon face a ban on pork products like sausage rolls and ham sandwiches over fears that they are “offensive” to certain faiths.
New guidelines proposed by CoExist House, a U.S. and UK-based interfaith group, urge employers to consider the rules of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Sikhism, as well as new religions like Scientology. It warns bosses to be sensitive to worker’s religions before allowing ham products to be stored or prepared alongside other products.
The group also suggests that alcohol should not be served at corporate events in case it upsets the feelings of members of certain faiths.
Andy Dinham, professor of faith and public policy at Goldsmiths, University of London, is preparing the guidelines that will be put forward to employers this week.
Prof Dinham told the Sunday Times : “It would be good etiquette to avoid heating up foods that might be prohibited for people of other faiths.
“The microwaves example is a good one. We also say, ‘Don’t put kosher or halal and other . . . special foods next to another [food] or, God forbid, on the same plate.”
The religious literacy programme also deals with clothing, the right to wear religious symbols such as crucifixes and the hijab and religious holidays.
He added: “We have lost the ability to talk about religious belief because of a century of secular assumptions, and most religious belief is either highly visible and we don’t recognise it, or it’s invisible and we miss it entirely.”
“We can’t be didactic. You can’t say, ‘Do this, this and this and you’ll get it right’.”