(An employee at the counter of Beurger King Muslim, or BKM, in Clichy-sous-Bois, a suburb east of Paris, August 8, 2005. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen)

Close to half the staff managers at companies in French urban areas have seen problems arising from religious demands by employees and expect them to increase in future, according to a new study issued on Tuesday.

Listing faith-related problems, the new study said some men refused to take orders from a woman boss or shake hands with women and some refused to handle alcohol or pork products.

Other problems include employees wanting to pray or wear religious garb at work. Some employees try to impose their religious standards on colleagues, such as preventing non-observant Muslims from eating at work during Ramadan.

Smaller towns and rural areas had far fewer problems, the study said. Fewer than five percent of human resources managers in the western region of Brittany reported any difficulties.