Labor Relations In Institutions With A Christian Ethos

In many countries, regulations that protect equal access to work have been proliferated, sometimes with a special focus on certain identity groups that have suffered historical discrimination or minorities with risk of discrimination.

On the other hand, “identity” institutions based on ethical and religious principles and values (NGOs, schools, universities, hospitals, community centers, think tanks, religious organizations, etc.) coexist in plural society and claim their right to include as a criterion for hiring and working in the institution, respect – and sometimes conceptual and even existential adherence – to certain values, which – following their founding statutes – they consider essential for the development of their mission and activities.

Also, in recent years, the social trend that demands companies a commitment to values ​​beyond the lucrative logic has been gaining strength, requesting consistency between the declared values, the concrete practice and their participation in current debates, also in relation to employees, collaborators, sponsors and suppliers.

These movements regularly produce conflictive cases that have reached or end up reaching national and international courts. In this frame, with due respect for the freedoms of association, expression, research, teaching and religion, there is in many cases a statist idea that mistrusts private activity and leads to national and supranational over-regulation; a secular perspective that looks at religion as a disruptive element, thus suspecting its ability to respect the rights of citizens; and certain social and legal ambiguities that in some cases exalt the right to private and family life, and in others enable state and judicial intervention in those same fields.

In this context, civil society maintains its dynamism: the complexity set a perfect time for thinking, especially by Christian-inspired institutions.

External hostility can lead to confrontation to recover or maintain threatened spaces of autonomy, or to build a closed security environment that leads to isolation. In both cases, there is a risk of rejecting the dialogue: on one sideit would be exchanged for the conflict and, on the other, it would be canceled by withdrawal. A third possibility is the loss of identity grant of own principles to agree with other people’s standards. Faced with these monological possibilities, the institutions of defined identity are called to care for and project their mission, which is the source of their value and wealth proposition for plural society.

The purpose of the expert meeting, which took place in Madrid at the end of March 2019, was to reflect on these issues from different perspectives, in order to enrich the debate and offer practical knowledge for “trend” institutions or those based on ethical ​​and religious values, on the legal and organizational challenges existing in this field.

Faced with this great debate, Intermedia Social Innovation has organized the first Expert Meeting of the Cultural Mediation and Social Affairs Project, with the title: “Labor relations in institutions of Christian identity”. Ángel Gómez Montoro (Universidad de Navarra, Spain) was the academic director and Juan Pablo Cannata (Universidad Austral, Argentina), the coordinator of the organizing committee.

Specifically, the question was raised about the legal implications of associating an employment contract with a mission statement based on moral and religious principles, and the criteria to be followed in case of a conflict between the mission statement and the behaviors or attitudes of the different types of workers. From a multidisciplinary perspective, with 14 presentations and seven colloquia, 20 academic and professional observers discussed good practices in talent management, the performative and inspiring function of the mission statement in educational and care centers, the challenges of communication and public opinion, and the main legal currents in various courts and legislative areas.

Summary of principles and recommendations discussed

  1. The mission statement is first and foremost a live and enlivening reality
  2. The mission statement should incorporate and clarify the integrity of Christian values
  3. The mission statement should make possible the incorporation of all the organization’s members, inviting them to contribute to the mission.
  4. The degree to which adherence to the mission statement may be required differs according to the job post
  5. A sufficient presence of people who identify with the institutional values facilitates the mission statement’s longevity.
  6. The mission statement should be applied consistently in the organization’s strategic decisions, including those regarding labor relations.
  7. The mission stataement’s legal validity.

Documents to download

Expert Meeting 2019: Labor Relations In Institutions With A Christian Ethos

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Expert Meeting 2019: The Legal Validity Of The Institutional Mission Statement: Foundations And Practical Applications

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Expert meeting 2019: The Job Interview In A Tendency Organization

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Expert meeting 2019: Seven Words That Define the Mission Statement of an Educational Institution with a Christian Identity

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(Click on the title to download. Available only in spanish)

1. El ideario como realidad viva y vivificante: límites y posibilidades | Fernanda Llergo
2. Libertad, constructora de identidades | Mercedes Rovira

3. Universidad católica, identidad cristiana y relaciones laborales: una mirada histórica | Ricardo Cubas

4. Algunas consideraciones sobre la autonomía y la libertad académica en las universidades con ideario | Raúl Madrid
5. Algunas reflexiones conceptuales y prácticas | J. Martínez Torrón
6. Relaciones laborales en instituciones de identidad cristiana. Marco jurídico | Jorge Otaduy
7. Perfil ideológico de la empresa de tendencia y derechos fundamentales de sus trabajadores | José María Rodríguez de Santiago
8. Derecho antidiscriminatorio y algunas sugerencias prácticas en materia de personal | Luis Sánchez Socías
9. La libertad de la persona moral. Conjugar los derechos individuales con el respeto al ideario en instituciones con identidad religiosa | Fernando Toller

10. Relaciones laborales en instituciones de identidad cristiana | Mayte Ahugetas11. La consistencia en la organización en la dirección de personas | José Ramon Pin
11. La consistencia en la organización en la dirección de personas | José Ramon Pin


Academic director
– Ángel Gómez Montoro (Universidad de Navarra, España)

– Mayte Ahugetas (Clínica Universidad de Navarra, España)
– Ricardo Cubas (Universidad de Los Andes, Chile)
– Fernando Domingo (Universidad de Navarra, España)
– Luis Sanchez Socías (Abogado del Estado, España)
– Fernanda Llergo (Universidad Panamericana, México)
– Raúl Madrid Ramírez (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile)
– Javier Martínez Torrón (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España)
– Jorge Otaduy (Universidad de Navarra, España)
– José Ramón Pin (IESE, Universidad de Navarra, España)
– José M. Rodríguez de Santiago (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, España)
– Mercedes Rovira (Universidad de Montevideo, Uruguay)
– José A. Ruiz San Román (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España)
– Fernando M. Toller (Universidad Austral, Argentina)
– Enric Vidal (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, España)

Organizing committee
– Juan Pablo Cannata (Universidad Austral, Argentina)
– M. Aparecida Ferrari (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Italia)
– Giovanna Razzano (Università della Sapienza, Italia)
– Gloria Gratacós (Universidad Internacional Villanueva, España)
– Marc Argemí (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, España)