Creating an Inclusive Workplace During Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting. It begins the evening of April 2 and ends the evening of May 2 this year; however, the dates are dependent on the appearance of the crescent moon and varies across countries. Some may observe from April 1 to April 30. Learn more about Ramadan here.

During Ramadan, Dining & Culinary Services offers special Halal certified meals that can be ordered for pick-up at all of our markets, to accommodate anyone who is observing this holy month.

One thing we can do for those who observe is to be more aware and inclusive of our work through accommodations. From journalist and award winning author, Aya A. Khalil, here are some ways in which we can accommodate those who observe this holy month:

  • Educate yourself. There are a lot of resources online such as this one.
  • Make connections. There are parallels between Ramadan and fasting during Lent that leads to Easter. Other religions also encourage fasting, such as Hinduism and Judaism.
  • Avoid scheduling afternoon meetings or simply ask what works best for our colleagues
  • Avoid scheduling lunch meetings, coffee breaks or office potlucks/gatherings in the daytime
  • If someone bring treats to a break room or meeting, bring something where people can take the treats with them for later when they break their fast
  • Consider any celebrations or events that include food after Iftar (breaking fast at sunset)

From a colleague:

Language is very important when speaking to your colleagues about culture, religious practices, traditions, etc. One of the questions Muslims are often asked about their fasting is “Not even water??” usually followed by a “I could never do that.” or “That’s too much.” or Why?” with a shocked expression of disbelief (not always nicely). We are always happy to engage. We are proud of who we are as everyone should be. This is a very important, beloved time for Muslims and so I’d like to just add, moving forward the tone of engagement should still keep that core value of “Respect.”

Upcoming Holidays & Observances

  • March 25: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is a United Nations inter-national observation that offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. First observed in 2008, the international celebration also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice.
  • March 25: Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, a Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus
  • March 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated to bring awareness to transgender people and their identities and to recognize those who helps fight for rights for the transgender community.
  • April 2: World Autism Awareness Day, created to raise awareness around the globe
  • April 2-11: Chaitra Navaratri, a nine-day festival which starts on the first day of the Hindu Luni-Solar Calendar
  • April 2-May 2 (sundown to sundown): Ramadan, an Islamic holiday marked by fasting, praise, prayer and devotion to Islam.