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A heavy equipment shop in Toronto is looking for a licensed technician. An agency sends them a qualified technician with the kind of experience they are looking for. When the management interviews him, they discover that he is a devout Muslim who must pray for 5 minutes, three times during his shift. The managers discuss this among themselves. They think of their shop as a progressive employer that values equity and diversity, and they have no problem with his beliefs. However, they are reluctant to take him on. They worry that accommodating his prayer time will lead to issues with the other technicians.

What will be the reaction if he?s working with another technician on a repair, and he walks away to pray, they ask? What if the other technicians start demanding extra breaks to make it ?fair? for everyone? In the end, they choose not to hire the technician, fearing it will cause too many problems in the work environment. It?s not about religion, they say, he simply isn?t a good ?fit?. The candidate is never told why he didn?t get the job. The decision is uncomfortable for the management team, who realize their choice is not in line with their stated values, but they justify it as a practical business matter and not a diversity issue.

How does this situation make you feel?

Do you think they had an obligation to stand by their equity policies, or does business come first?

As leaders within their industry, what consequence could this decision, or similar decisions, have?

What alternative did they have?

Would you have hired the applicant? If yes, why? If no, why not?

What would you do to deal with a similar situation in the future?

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