Religion and culture in the workplace : a balancing act of competing rights and interests.
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This thesis will seek to explore the effect religion and culture has in the workplace. Given the diversity of South Africa and the existence of many cultures and religions co-existing, there are bound to be conflicts in our everyday lives and the workplace is no exception. The focus of this thesis is to determine how competing rights of employers and employees are balanced in the workplace. The courts have a critical role in performing a balancing act between an employee’s right to exercise or observe their culture and religion in the workplace against the commercial rights of the employer who seek to run their business in a manner that is efficient and professional. The dissertation in Chapter One is an introduction into the topic. Chapter two will look briefly at the historical development of religion and culture in South Africa. Chapter Three will explore the statutory protection offered for the right to freedom of religion and culture in the workplace and how these are implemented. The important and established principle of reasonable accommodation will be looked at in Chapter Four. A determination into the international arena and comparative analysis will be made between South Africa and international jurisdictions in Chapter Five. The courts critical role in balancing competing rights are dealt with in Chapter Six. Chapter Seven will lastly provide concluding remarks and recommendations and will end the dissertation.