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Religion and belief

Author: Shelagh Prosser

Summary

  • Employers should be aware of the meaning of religion or belief in the employment context. (See Definitions)
  • Employers that observe good practice in respect of religion and belief can help to build a more diverse, inclusive, respectful and motivated workforce. (See The relationship between religion and work and The importance of good practice)
  • Employers should handle requests relating to religion or belief on a case-by-case basis, by weighing up all the factors and through discussion with the employees concerned. (See General principles of effective practice)
  • Policies that set out the organisation's values and expected behaviour of employees with respect to religion or belief can help to promote a culture of respect for religious diversity. (See Policies and procedures)
  • Employers should ensure that their equality training covers religion and belief. (See Raising awareness)
  • Encouraging a multi-faith employee network can show the employer's support for religious diversity and provide a forum for employees to share experiences and influence organisational policy. (See Employee networks)
  • Employers that wish to attract applicants from as wide a talent pool as possible need to ensure that their recruitment and selection practices and procedures do not unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, in relation to any protected characteristics, including religion or belief. Employers can take steps to target a more diverse pool of applicants. (See The recruitment and selection process)
  • Employers should give careful consideration to a request for flexible working for reasons of religion or belief. (See Time off for religious observance and Flexible working)
  • Establishing a quiet room for prayer and meditation can enable employees to observe their religion or belief at work with little disruption to the business. (See Prayer)
  • It is important to be clear during the recruitment process about the tasks that a job involves to minimise conflict between the needs of the business and an individual's religion or belief. (See Roles and responsibilities)
  • When implementing a dress code, employers should consult employees to explain the purpose of the code and ensure that the requirements can be objectively justified. (See Dress codes)
  • Employers should be sensitive to employees' needs pertaining to their religion when organising workplace events and training. This may include accommodating dietary, prayer and cultural requirements. Employers can help employees who are required to fast to feel comfortable at work. (See Dietary requirements, Fasting and Training and work-related events)
  • Employers should set out in a policy what constitutes unacceptable behaviour that can amount to harassment relating to religion or belief. (See Proselytising and harassment)
  • Employers should include religion and belief, alongside other protected characteristics, when monitoring the impact of their actions to advance equality, diversity and inclusion. (See Monitoring)