Hi - I'm writing an article for the BBC News website on workplace discrimination against atheists. I have seen a few stories on this site about people who felt excluded by their co-workers or even lost their job after expressing their beliefs. I would like to talk to people who have been through such an experience. You can contact me directly - my email is brianwheelerbbc@gmail.com - or share your stories in this forum.

Brian Wheeler

BBC News, Washington


**Moderator's note: After our initial message of caution to all of you we've had an opportunity to confirm that Mr. Wheeler is indeed who he says he is. Knowing this, we'd like to encourage everyone to please share their stories of discrimination in the workplace with Mr. Wheeler. We shouldn't let the opportunity of a BBC News reporter telling the world the story of very real anti-atheist discrimination pass by! He is on a deadline so you must contact him as soon as you're able to.

(Anyone interested in confirming the legitimacy of this Moderator's note may contact Nelson either on TA or by email.)**

Tags: discrimination, job, work

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I do this. I find that Terry Pratchett's hardcover dust covers are just the right size and width for The God Delusion. I call it the Pratchett Delusion:)


In other news - I work for a large corporation in South Africa. The working population is very Afrikaans and white. Not only are they a bunch of racist mofo's (the stereotypes of white SA'ns aren't untrue in some places), but this area is also predominantly Christian (old-school, very Calvinistic). I have a lift club with two brothers - the one puts on worship CDs in the car; the other switches over on the way home for the 6pm 'Godsdiens' ('God service') on the radio, which takes members of the listenership and gets them to read psalms and pray etc. I once tried to report an interesting comment I'd read about chaos theory (from one of Nelson's Sunday School links.. but that is besides the point), and Brother #1 thought it sounded too much like evolutionary theory, and went on a 10 min rant about evolution and how it's a crock.

In my department, the secretary had a small statue of Buddha in her office, which she had been given as a present. The CEO (our co. employs over 1500 ppl) got wind of it and told her to remove it as it is against 'company policy'.

I am very quiet about my worldview - I wish it never to come out as long as I work here, and I'm very scared of the idea. Brother #2 has starting trying to engage me with one liner conversation intros after the Godsdiens has finished, which I have so far successfully diverted. I have no idea how I plan to handle it if the question ever comes up directly. I do not pretend to not know the Bible, so that I think is an adequate decoy at the moment.

I am also typing this at work, waiting for the brothers to decide it's home time (they leave anywhere between 1 - 1.5 hours after the official end of the work day), Alt+Tab'ing like mad whenever someone walks down the corridor, as this is the ONE site you do not want to get caught on.

Maske wrote: In my department, the secretary had a small statue of Buddha in her office, which she had been given as a present. The CEO (our co. employs over 1500 ppl) got wind of it and told her to remove it as it is against 'company policy'. (end snippet)


@ Maske - You think that is bad; I once worked for a very large company. They would allow you to put little personal trinkets on your cubicle shelf. A friend of mine was a Wizard of Oz fan and she had little Wizard of Oz character trinkets on her shelf. Someone complained about the wicked witch one and the company made her remove it (oh vey, and I'm not even Jewish).

Haha thats a good idea!  I though about it but the only jackets I had on books in my house were other atheist books like Penns "God, NO!" or Hitchens "God is not great" >_/p>

Ehm, are their no protections against terminating the employment of someone on purely religious grounds?

There are, however they always find some other reason or make up one.  One reason I've heard was "incompatible with the company's standards" or some other reason.  It’s the same thing they do in a big box mart when a manager doesn’t like an employee (I've worked closely with management so I’ve seen it countless times), they won’t fire them for the real reason, it will be for some BS reason or will watch closely and nail them on policy that is never enforced like "Taking excessively long breaks" because they took 16 minutes rather than 15.  It’s always on technicalities that are in the policies.  It’s wrong, but it happens.


I have read a couple dozen posts her on this topic.  There's enough material for a month of Dilbert cartoons.  But this raises the question - would 'Dilbert' be harassed or fired by the fired up by Jezus kooks ?

Dilbert wouldn't be fired... there'd be no more Dilbert cartoons then...

Wow, that's a pretty accurate explanation for the weird harassment one of my managers frequently engages in.

Anti-discrimination laws only mean that you can sue after the fact and maybe get some damages. But suing to be reinstated is only going to lead to an even more hostile work environment

All who feel they have been discriminated against or dismissed from employment because of choices of conscience need to sue their employer. Reinstatement is rarely an option and who'd want it anyway but companies react to financial loss and reputation damage, so the more that do this, the more things will change.


The religious nutjobs of this world can be hurt in one organ only... the wallet.

But after being fired, hiring a lawyer to sue for you is a luxury most can not afford. Finding a lawyer and truly knowing whether or not they are just going to do a half !#*ed job if they are a christian is another hurdle. On top of that, proving discrimination has to be one of the hardest cases for any lawyer. It is impossible unless you have written evidence or willing witnesses. When you are a minority, especially one that inspires such hostility, fair treatment is more of a pipe dream.

The protections are on the books, but proving religious discrimination is almost impossible.


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