Can an employer be liable for harassment of an employee by other employees because of his or her religion or belief?
As Christmas is a Christian festival, can an employer still hold a Christmas party if some of its employees belong to other religions?
If a third party harasses an employee, will his or her employer be liable for the third party's actions under the Equality Act 2010?
Can an employer and/or its employees be liable for harassment on the grounds of religion or belief where the victim is mistakenly believed to be of a particular religion or belief?
Under the Equality Act 2010, can an employee bring a claim for harassment where the unwanted conduct is not directed at him or her?
Can an employer and/or its employees be liable for harassment of an employee because of, for example, his or her partner's religion or belief?
Does the Equality Act 2010 outlaw associative discrimination?
Can an employer restrict a job to people of a particular religion or belief?
What "positive action" is permitted under discrimination legislation?
Under the law outlawing discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief are company dress codes permissible?
It is unlikely that an employment tribunal
would be willing to decide that the holding of a Christmas party in itself
constitutes religious discrimination against any non-Christians contrary to the
Equality Act 2010. This is because
Christmas parties are not really about celebrating religion. Rather they are
about improving staff morale and loyalty and thanking employees for all their
hard work and efforts over the previous year. That said, there is currently no
case law on this point and it is possible that a non-Christian employee might
argue that the office Christmas party discriminates against him or her
because the employee's own religious festival is not also celebrated by the
In any event, employers must be careful to
take the various religions into account when planning the date, location,
theme and catering for their Christmas party. For example, an alcohol-fuelled
party in a local pub could well deter Muslim employees whose religion forbids
association with alcohol. Friday nights cause problems for Orthodox Jewish
employees, because they have to be home an hour before dusk for the start of
their Sabbath. Employers should therefore review the proposed arrangements for
their Christmas parties and identify areas where staff from different religions
might be disadvantaged and then consider how those arrangements could be
changed to overcome those disadvantages. Issues to consider include: whether or not the venue is suitable and the date acceptable; whether or not any theme is likely to
cause offence to anyone; whether or not a choice of non-alcoholic drinks will be
provided; and whether or not the menu gives sufficient choice and includes vegetarian
options to accommodate particular dietary requirements.
What issues should employers take into account regarding the timing of a work-related social event such as a Christmas party?
What issues should employers take into account when organising the catering for work-related social events?
Should employees who practise faiths other than Christianity be given additional annual leave to enable them to celebrate religious festivals?
Should employees who practise religions other than Christianity be given additional time off in lieu where a bank holiday is aligned to a Christian festival such as Easter?
Can Christian employees refuse to work on the bank holidays that are aligned to a Christian festival such as Easter?
Are employers required to monitor their employees' religions and beliefs?
How are employees protected from dismissal because of an act of discrimination?
Are Sikhs working on construction sites required to wear safety helmets?
Are employers obliged to let Sikh employees wear a kirpan under their clothing while at work?
Can employers require all employees to wear a uniform?
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