Ever had a boss who held prayer in team meetings?

Recently I happened to see an old boss of mine back when I was a relay operator. He was looking for a job, but, happily, not with the company I work for now. I say happily because, though I like “Malcolm” and think he’s in most ways qualified to be a team leader in my current firm, I’d still have had a problem hiring him. You see, back when we worked together, Malcolm would regularly lead his employees in prayer during team meetings. When I was his employee I tolerated this in the interests of not needlessly rocking the boat, but if he were applying for a job as a manager under me I’d feel obliged to make clear that he was NOT to do that here. I don’t think it’s possible for a manager to even say grace at a team meal (much less lead a more formal prayer) without it being coercive to all his or her reports, and possibly offensive to many of them.

Which brings me to the thread question. Have you ever worked for or under someone who led any sort of prayer–grace or otherwise–at work functions? If so, how’d you handle it?

Yes, and I spoke up about it. Not on my own behalf, but as a manager I felt it was my responsibility to my own staff. He insisted that his prayers all came from a book of non-denominational prayers so it was “OK.”

I explained. He stopped. He made it clear that his failure to save their souls would be on my head come judgement day. I promised to stand up and take the rap for it.


On an entirely unrelated note: When you read your screen name to yourself, do you pronounce the C as a K or an S?

Missed the edit window:

Conversations occurred quietly and privately, not at the immediate function. At the function I just sat quietly with my hands folded, eyes open, making it clear that that was an acceptable response. I saw two people look annoyed/shocked, and let them know afterward that I would address the problem.

In 30 years of working office jobs in the Chicago area, I have never encountered prayer in the office. The only thing I can think of that comes vaguely close is that once we did a team-building day volunteering at a faith-based charity, and they had a brief voluntary prayer session. Nobody was taking attendance.

Thankfully, no. The closest I ever came was one who almost fainted when she found out one of my coworkers was “living in sin”, but after we explained in stereo that she was simply married the old fashioned way (old as in pre-Council of Trent) she shut the fuck up. We knew which way her religious views leaned, it would have been impossible not to - but any attempts at trying to make us jump through her rings would not have been well-received and she knew it.

I’ve had coworkers of several denominations say Grace (or equivalent) before meals but always as a private prayer.

Use a “Gc” if you’ve got one; a hard “K” if you haven’t.


“Keep your heathen gibberish to yourself, Mr. Chekov.” Or I’ll start pronouncing with with a voiceless uvular fricative.

I have encountered it; at annual staff meetings, and events like the summer BBQ or winter chili cookoff.

This is at a government agency, by the way. I haven’t done anything…I decided I’d had enough of it about a year ago, and inexplicably haven’t experienced any more inappropriate praying. Next time, though, I’ll raise a stink.


However I have been with the military in one form or another since 1989 and there is often a benediction from the Chaplin during ceremonies. I don’t know if that meets your criteria.

Not actual prayer, per se, but I did sub-contract work for a number of years for a small IT boutique firm that had, “Behave in a Christ like manner” as part of it’s business conduct and ethics code. I believe a majority of the 50 or so employees at the time were some type of observant Christians (I never could figure out which specific sect).

I have to say that in many respects they were the most professional, ethical and knowledgeable group I’ve ever worked with in my 25+ year IT career. In fact I’m on completely different project now and am having them bid on some work we need done in the next six months. I’m sure they are the best qualified and I hope they are awarded the contract.

Not at meetings, but at functions (parties, etc.). He is Jewish, his wife is Christian. So he prays twice; once for each.

Yes, just once, as documented in [thread=544552]this thread[/thread]. Unlike TruCelt I did not have the guts to complain. And I never had to work with the guy again. I was shocked and dumbstruck when the guy called for a prayer. I later realized he did not lead the prayer himself, he asked someone else to take the fall, I mean lead the prayer.

I had a boss, a black Southern Baptist gentleman, who always asked us to hold hands and say a prayer before we had team lunches. It was a fairly non-denominational prayer, but he did mention “God” which was a definite no-no at our international corporation. No one must have complained because he did this until the day he retired.

I had a tennis teammate who asked us to gather and pray as a team before our Playoff match. I told her that I meant no disrespect, but that I didn’t pray for sports victories because surely God had bigger things to worry about.

No, never…and I’ve spent the last 15 years of my working life in Texas and Utah, two of the places you would most expect that to happen.

In my 30+ years of working I have never had a boss or team leader lead anybody in prayer on the job or at a meal that was work related. I have been with co-workers that would silently pray before they ate, but not leading anyone else or expecting anyone else to join.

If I did witness something like that, I would privately pull them aside and advise them that proselytizing at work is not something that should be done. It potentially creates an environment of harassment and could result in their discipline or dismissal.

Yes, before I hung my own shingle, I worked for a non-profit where such was common practice. I just left the room while they did that sort of thing. No hu-hu.

I’ve never experienced it.

But I’d be willing to bet a million dollars that when my dad was a principal, he did stuff like this. Because my father is the type of manager who would do this kind of thing and be totally unapologetic about it.

Unless you were an employee at a church, I can’t even imagine this happening.

Seems odd to me that you can’t imagine this happening, since several other posters have mentioned that similar things happened to them.