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Aibu to feel like a second class citizen for not sharing the faith? Job related.

(61 Posts)
witsender Sat 04-Feb-17 14:13:06

I tried to name change but couldn't, so hey ho.

I work for a Christian charity. I am agnostic and this has never been an issue, I started as a volunteer and when a job came up I started working there. I love my job, and bar the odd comment from volunteers expressing the belief that Christians/Christian volunteers are better it has all been fine.

A new role has come up which is a step up. I have all the relevant experience and know the organisation too,but it has increasingly been made clear that I wouldn't get it as I am not a Christian. Obviously this hasn't been said upfront but 4 out of the 5 trustees are religious and want a believer and have said as much, and the manager has said that in his heart of hearts he wants someone of the faith to help him 'uphold the moral code' and to ensure the Christian element isn't diluted. At the same time they are telling me that I am welcome to apply.

This has really tainted the whole thing for me. The work we do is in no way faith based, so it doesn't impact my work or complete dedication. It makes me feel like a second class citizen to be honest, and even if by some miracle (excuse the pun) I were to get the job, I feel like it would be even though most of the people there don't want me.

I can't decide if I am being over sensitive though?

NotJanine Sat 04-Feb-17 14:15:38

Is that legal?

AnotherUsedName13 Sat 04-Feb-17 14:16:18

No real advice but I had a very similar experience with a Jewish charity. I'm technically Jewish but non practicing with a non-Jewish father and I definitely after a while felt less than welcome because I wasn't part of the community and I can imagine it would be worse in a faith based group.

I left in the end and I'm glad I did. I wouldn't work somewhere else where the trustees made it clear I wasn't enough for them.

user892 Sat 04-Feb-17 14:22:28

At the same time they are telling me that I am welcome to apply

Of course they are; discrimination laws prevent them from saying otherwise. I'll eat my hat if you got the job.

You are effectively a 2nd class citizen here. Am sooo glad I didn't get the job at Tearfund.

witsender Sat 04-Feb-17 14:24:25

Technically I am a Christian having been christened etc, but that doesn't make me a true Christian! I've been there nearly 2 years now.

NarkyMcDinkyChops Sat 04-Feb-17 14:24:56

I'd try and get them to admit in an email that they want only christians etc for the job. See how they like a discrimination lawsuit.

I'd look elsewhere, OP. You aren't going to get promotion there.

Foldedtshirt Sat 04-Feb-17 14:31:12

flowers
No advice, but I work in a similar situation. We used to have a requirement that employed staff had to be Christian and have recently dropped that and recruited non Christians. The reasoning behind that wasn't that it was illegal but more a sense that it wasn't very fair or moral. It's working well. If you really like the charity and want to stay maybe investigate how they could drop the requirement. In the end everyone was on board, including trustees. It wasn't a big issue.

Cherrysoup Sat 04-Feb-17 14:34:58

You won't get the job and you won't be able to prove its because of your lack of faith. You chose to work for a Christian charity, so don't be amazed.

My old job, a new boss came in who is strongly religious. He started recruiting only people of his faith from his previous workplace. It's ridiculous. Loads of us left.

witsender Sat 04-Feb-17 14:37:57

What's annoying is that the work that we do is important and a whole society issue. It doesn't feel right that it is "bagsied" by a faith.

lalalalyra Sat 04-Feb-17 14:39:28

You have to wonder what is the slightest bit moral about not wanting the best person for the job.

Obviously there are some jobs where someone needs the faith - can't see the RC church having any athiest Priests anytime soon - but for a job that doesn't need faith, and a candidate who has already shown themselves capable? Nonsense. And not at all very Christian to be so judgemental and discriminatory.

Tonkinese Sat 04-Feb-17 14:40:00

I'm in a similar situation (not faith-based, almost the opposite) - it's become clear that the people at the top feel that only people from a certain background are able to do the job with the ethos they feel it should have. I disagree strongly, but know that's how it is. I am leaving.

I think it's because the people in charge feel beleaguered and that their speciality is not appreciated, and have swung too far the other way in their promotions practices.

nebulae Sat 04-Feb-17 14:43:06

the manager has said that in his heart of hearts he wants someone of the faith to help him 'uphold the moral code'...

Yeah, because a non-christian wouldn't know anything about having good morals hmm

Even if I loved the job I'm not sure I could put up with such an attitude from my boss.

donquixotedelamancha Sat 04-Feb-17 14:46:00

"I'd try and get them to admit in an email that they want only christians etc for the job. See how they like a discrimination lawsuit. I'd look elsewhere, OP. You aren't going to get promotion there."

Yeah, she likes the job and the people; so of course she should assume the worst and start with the nuclear option. Doubtless you work in employment law and know that discrimination lawsuits are a doddle.

OP: They are entitled to want someone who upholds the moral/cultural/whatever values of the organisation. They are not entitled to discriminate on religious grounds. I would suggest two things:

1. Do as much prep as possible to demonstrate how you will be (and have been in your current role) upholding the organisation's values. Show that you recognise why they value the Christian ethos and that you understand why that makes the organisation what it is. Given you seem to value this organisation, that shouldn't be hard- if you can't, then you aren't right for the job, regardless.

2. Possibly you should consider discussing your worries before hand. Be very positive and talk about how much would liek the job and respect their values. Depending on the response you get response, you might want to consider some of the advice you will inevitably get about challenging discrimination. With the recent changes (crippling) of employment tribunals by the tories, I'd suggest you want a strong case to be worth kicking up a fuss.

SpongebobRoundPants Sat 04-Feb-17 14:46:28

Why don't you just say your Christian? or is that Immoral?

FireInTheHead Sat 04-Feb-17 14:48:20

I had a similar situation arise, not religion but 'vocation' related, let's say I was the only one who couldn't/didn't arm-wrestle to a professional standard. There was some talk of a perceived PR need for it to be a known 'face' in the arm-wrestling world, as a couple of other candidates were, but no need to be able to arm-wrestle to do that job. It came down in the end to my ability/experience/qualification re the actual job at hand not my non-existent world-ranking in arm wrestling. I got the promotion.

Jb291 Sat 04-Feb-17 14:48:28

I worked for a well known religious charity on a temporary contract. Ten months into the contract I was advised that although they would be looking to make the role permanent I would not be successful in applying because I was the wrong religion. I hated the job anyway and couldn't wait to leave but it was blatantly discriminatory and illegal.

AmeliaJack Sat 04-Feb-17 14:49:24

I'm a Christian.

Apply for the job. Do a storming interview. When they ask if you have any questions raise your concerns as eloquently as you have here about the importance of this work and the irrelevance of your faith. Quote the parable of the Good Samaritan.

I hope you get it.

MandyFl0ss Sat 04-Feb-17 14:50:08

I work in similar environment but in the education sector. Career wise I know it's a non-starter. I will be leaving as soon as something better comes along as I am 100% certain that my career will never advance as I am not 'one of them'.

witsender Sat 04-Feb-17 14:52:26

I like and respect what we do, and I wouldn't want to damage that so certainly am not looking at this from a legal perspective...Just a "gutted" one. blush

AmeliaJack Sat 04-Feb-17 14:53:16

God doesn't care who does the work. God cares that the work is done.

witsender Sat 04-Feb-17 14:53:33

I genuinely feel I could do it, and I care about the charity and the clients that we help, just feeling a bit disheartened that no matter how good I am i may not get it.

chinam Sat 04-Feb-17 14:55:13

I agree with AmeliaJack. Apply for the role. Don't make things easy for them to rule you out. I'm a Christian, too btw but have no time for this kind of mindset.

luckylavender Sat 04-Feb-17 14:57:19

I can't say I'm that surprised & I understand their position.

AmeliaJack Sat 04-Feb-17 14:59:39

Find a bit of righteous indignation Wits! Don't be defeated and downhearted!

You said you love your job? That's really rare. Go in and fight for the promotion. Point a big finger at the elephant in the room and show them why it doesn't matter.

Show them your passion for the work.

HighwayDragon1 Sat 04-Feb-17 15:04:52

If you love your job do as Amelia says.

If not, get them to admit that they only want a Christian working in that role and shove a lawsuit up their arses.

Though I don't think I could love a job where my bosses basically insinuate that I have loose morals because of my religious beliefs angry

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