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  • Conner Lantz
    Post count: 4836

    Our company is thinking of doing a DEI audit. We are a faith based international NGO based in both US and Canada. We currently hire only faith aligned candidates for all our jobs that are office based. Would this be considered a discrimination or lack of inclusiveness in our hiring practices or can we say that we can have hiring exceptions. Much of our policies are also not very other religion inclusive. Are there strong reasons we should not proceed for this kind of audit, until we resolve the strategy overall of the organization?

    Conner Lantz
    Post count: 4836

    In Canada and in the US, hiring on religious discrimination is illegal unless the religious or creed-based qualification is a reasonable and a bona fide qualification because of the nature of the employment.
    the following characteristics are taken into account to demonstrate that an institution’s principal aim is religious:

    • Articles of incorporation stating a religious purpose;
    • Day-to-day operations with religion as the main emphasis; and
    • Whether it is a for-profit business.

    Courts will consider these elements and the religious and secular aspects of an organization on an individual basis.
    Most crucially, the religious organization exclusion only applies to religiously motivated discrimination. Religious organizations cannot discriminate based on protected classifications such as race, gender, or national origin.
    What Is the Difference between the “Right to Discriminate” and a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification Defense?
    A “BFOQ” is a commonly-used acronym for the phrase “Bona Fide Occupational Qualification.”
    It varies from the freedom to discriminate under religious organization law in that it allows employers to discriminate based on religion, gender, or heritage if the occupation needs one of these protected classifications.
    For instance, a women’s clothes designer may exclusively recruit female models since hiring male models would be detrimental to the firm.
    The difference between the two is that BFOQ is more tightly defined than a religious organization’s freedom to discriminate.
    The former is more concerned with the work itself, while the latter is concerned with the type of employer.
    There are situations when they overlap, such as when a Catholic school refuses to recruit a non-Catholic teacher because it is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (the ability to teach Catholicism). The institution maintains the right to discriminate.
    A DEI audit can help you to create valuable opportunities to build community and connection by strengthening your team’s shared vocabulary. When done well, they also create foundational structures upon which to build future innovations. However, if you have a bona fide qualification (creed), this may not be a part of your overall DEI audit.

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