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Discriminatory comments ‘disappointing’

Monday, Sep 4, 2017, by Sheryl Blythen

Comments from a Waikato university lecturer implying employers should not hire Muslim workers because they stop to pray five times a day are disappointing, says Diversity Works New Zealand Chief Executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie. Dr Raymond Richards, who teaches American history and religion at the University of Waikato, expressed his view on Facebook last week, and Cassidy-Mackenzie says it’s short-sighted. “New Zealand society, and therefore our workforce, is increasingly culturally diverse, which is something businesses should embrace,” she says. “A diverse workforce gives organisations a competitive edge – they can access new markets, connect with new customers, and improve their bottom line.” “Not only can we learn from other cultures, experiences and working styles, but having another viewpoint can enhance decision-making and result in an engaged, high-performance business culture.” Forward-thinking organisations are those creating an inclusive workplace culture, where their people can bring their whole selves to work, Cassidy-Mackenzie says. People shouldn’t feel they have to hide their religion, cultural beliefs, sexuality or family commitments from their employer.

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