Context Matters: Uncovering Factors Influencing Charges of Religious Workplace Discrimination




Ahmad, Afra S.

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Reports of religious discrimination in the workplace have increased significantly and the rate of this charge increase is greater than that of any other protected group (EEOC, 2015). Organizational scholars have focused on proximal factors and minimized the effects of more distal, contextual factors in understanding this workplace experience. By integrating sociology and psychology perspectives using a socioecological psychology framework, I examine how physical, interpersonal, economic and political environments within a particular county influence religious discrimination charges over a 24 year time period. Results indicate that the tragic event of September 11th, as well as increases in temperature, religious diversity and unemployment rates in a county relate to an increase in religious discrimination charges. This approach broadens consideration of the drivers of discrimination beyond individual and organizational factors, suggesting that intergroup dynamics are also influenced by the environment in which organizations are embedded. Additionally, this study incorporates the notion that communities change and as a result, individual workplace experiences change as well.



Psychology, Equal Employment Opportunity Comission, Religious Discrimination, Workplace