Creating an Inclusive Workplace During Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting. It began the evening of March 22 and ends the evening of April 21 this year; however, the dates are dependent on the appearance of the crescent moon and varies across countries. Some may observe from April 22 to May 22. 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 22nd – April 21st: Ramadan, an Islamic holiday marked by fasting, praise, prayer, and devotion to Islam

April 5th-13th: Passover, an eight-day Jewish holiday in commemoration of the emancipation of the Isarelites from slavery in ancient Egypt

April 6th: Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), the Christain holiday commemorating the Last Supper, at which Jesus and the Apostles were together for the last time before the crucifixion. It is celebrated on the Thursday before Easter

April 7th: Good Friday, a day celebrated by Christians to commemorate the execution of Jesus by crucifixion. It is recognized on the Friday before Easter

April 9th: Easter, a holiday celebrated by Christains to recognize Jesus’ return from death after the crucifixion