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Showing posts with label religious liberty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religious liberty. Show all posts

Jamaica The Right To Worship

 Jamaica The  Right To  Worship

There is a wind blowing in the direction of changing the Religious Liberty concept as it relates to the workplace in Jamaica.


 Jamaica The Right To Worship

As Human beings we all have rights such as the right to life, property, education,  etc. this includes religious liberty  right. In Jamaica the law of Religious Liberty is entrenched  the Jamaican Constitution. and can be found in the Charter of rights in the Jamaican Constitution.  

The Religious liberty Right
17.-(1) Every person shall have the right to freedom of religion including the freedom to change his religion and the right, either alone or in community with others and both in public and in private, to
18 [No1] manifest and propagate his religion in worship, teaching, practice, and observance.

(2) The constitution of a religious body or denomination shall not be altered except with the consent of the governing authority of that body or denomination.

(3) Every religious body or denomination shall have the right to provide religious instruction for persons of that body or denomination in the course of any education provided by that body or denomination whether or not that body or denomination is in receipt of any government subsidy, grant or another form of financial assistance designed to meet, in whole or in part, the cost of such course of education.

(4) No person attending any place of education, except with his own consent (or, if he is a minor, the consent of his parent or guardian) shall be required to receive religious instruction, or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance, which relates to a religion or religious body or denomination other than his own.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (Constitutional Amendment) Act, 2011

 There is a growing concern in Jamaica that some members of particular religious organizations are being marginalized in the Job as it relates to their day of Worship.
People who worship on Saturday are finding it increasingly difficult to get Jobs because they do not work on Saturday since it is regarded as their Sabbath.

The entrenched religious liberty law gives individuals the right to choose their belief and their day of worship.   The day a person worships should not cause him to be excluded from the job force. Employers should endeavor to work with the employees and  where  possible make such arrangements so that the workers  get the opportunity to have a day free  to worship  how and when  is their choice

Essential Services
There are services that are regarded as essential services the chief are the ones related to preserving life and property. If one works in these departments they cannot take part in  industrial actions and if they do, they are liable  to be put before the court or industrial tribunal  and be charged or sentenced; some of these services are:
Hospital services
Arm forces
Fire fighting
 Air traffic
Boarding educational institution
There are religions such as the Seventh Day Adventist faith who know that by law the above are essential services but would prefer that their members are asked to work only in the life-saving and emergency areas such as hospitals, institutional boarding, and in some cases security. 
 In this light institutions of government or the private sector who are able to make arrangements for such workers to work their 40 Hours work week without major disruption to these services are asked to accommodate the above preferences. Those who are able to so but refuse may be putting themselves at risk of facing some legal repercussions relating to the religious liberty law.

Duty of the Employee
It also rests with the worker to be truthful to the employer when interviewed for the job. Always be willing to accept a compromise such as working longer hours, coming in earlier, or staying late. You may have to do the less desirable shift. You may have to do shift exchange with other workers. As  a marginalized worker if you do get the job your work should be exemplary. You must be honest and  not steal your employer’s time subtly,  such as spending over the allotted time for lunch, spending unnecessary time for toiletries, and gossiping. You must be the worker whom your employer cannot afford to lose and be very good at what you do.

   Flexi  Week.

 This is a work arrangement where workers are given the opportunity to work forty hours each week at different hours, on different days, and in different places.
The advantages are:  It does not have to be from Monday to Friday. It can be so arranged to cover fewer days, more days, working from home,  and all types of creative  40 hours work week  arrangements.
This should be good for the workers who worship on Saturdays since the working schedule could bypass Saturdays.
Some individuals may be able to do two or three jobs with ease. Financially and economically it has its positives.
The disadvantages are:  It could also work against workers  as some employers can be insensitive and roster them to include the Sabbath as their  day of worship.
It has the potential to disrupt the family structure and  family arrangement and could impact the social and educational stability of the family, therefore, impacting the nation as a whole

Help for the Marginalized Sabbath Keeper.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church does put in place help for its members. In each church, there is a Religious Liberty Coordinator to whom the member can voice their concern in relation to their religious rights. This problem is then documented. It is then taken up with the employer or may be sent to the local  Conference pastor or president in charge of Religious Liberty Rights and may be sent to the Genera conference, or maybe taken to the industrial tribunal and may be taken to court. This would entail the use of a lawyer.

Taking Up the Challenge
As Seventh  Adventist  members individuals could change the religious landscape  in Jamaica and help other brothers and sisters who face difficulty within the workplace especially when it comes to getting the right to be free to worship on the day  one chooses
You can make a difference. Send your concerns. send  your real  experience, send documented  evidence, send facts of being marginalized least 1000 cases strong  from Jamaica can make the difference

The  challenge must be taken up by the Seventh Day Adventist lawyers young or old. Stand Up For Religious Liberty in Jamaica 
Need to get more information on how you can you can help.
Call: Tel 1 876-  571-7059
Contributing Author
Juliet Christie Murray