Harassment of Thelemites in the Workplace

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Rodney Orpheus will need no introduction to most visitors to LAShTAL.COM. His contributions to Thelemic culture and scholarship through music and writing are important and significant. His witty ripostes from the audience at last year’s Thelema Beyond Crowley Conference certainly amused me!

His blog (on LiveJournal) is pretty much essential reading for Thelemites, but he has excelled in a posting there yesterday, in which he tackled the vexed issue of the harassment of Thelemites in the working environment. Many of you will find his experience very familiar. I found his article inspirational.

It is reproduced here with his kind permission…

It appears from a couple of conversations I’ve had recently that several of my co-workers actually read this journal. That does feel slightly weird to me, since I normally try to keep my private life and work life as far apart as possible; but on the other hand, I don’t mind at all if people want to know more about me and find it interesting. However apparently recently at least one person at work has commented about my “weird black magick interests” in a somewhat negative way.

At a previous job (which shall remain nameless) I once got into a discussion about this with a senior member of staff, who seemed to think that I should not be so public about my religious beliefs. His comment was:

“What you believe on your own time is between you and God, but when it comes to work, there’s someone else involved.”

To which my reply was:

“Damn right! My lawyer is involved as well; and I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to call you up and explain the meaning of the phrase religious discrimination in the workplace. And I’ll be more than happy to retire on the nice settlement you’ll be paying after you, in turn, explain the whole thing to a judge.”

Oddly, after that, nobody ever mentioned my religious beliefs at work again.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with current UK legislation regarding religious discrimination, be advised that I am very familiar with it. You may find the following information helpful:

Citizen’s Advice Bureau guide

UCL practical guide for HR personnel

In particular note these paragraphs:

What is meant by religion or similar belief?
Having a religion or similar belief may mean, for example:
– belonging to an organised religion such as Judaism or Islam
– having a profound belief which affects your way of life or view of the world
taking part in collective worship
– belonging to a smaller religion or sect, such as Scientology or Rastafarianism.

Harassment at work because of your religion or belief

It is against the law for someone to harass you at work, because of your religion or belief. The person harassing you may be your employer, or it may be a colleague, Someone is harassing you if you find their behaviour towards you offensive, frightening, degrading, humiliating or in any way distressing. It may be intentional or unintentional. It is also against the law for someone to harass you at work because of your religion or belief, even if they are mistaken about what it is. For example, you are attacked at your workplace by someone who has assumed, wrongly, that you are a Muslim because of your appearance. You will not have to disclose what your religion actually is in order to do something about this.

I don’t mind disclosing my religion: for the record, I am a Bishop in the Gnostic Catholic Church. Yes, that’s right, a Bishop. The pic attached to this mail shows me wearing my insignia of office. I take this stuff very seriously. Readers would be wise to keep that in mind.

The preceding is also on record for other members of my church living and working in the UK. Study your rights, and don’t be afraid to use them. People fought long and hard to get us these rights, and it’s our duty to make sure they get applied.

Rodney Orpheus
Reproduced with kind permission

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