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Religion and belief

Author: Shelagh Prosser


  • Employers that observe good practice in respect of religion and belief can build a more diverse, respectful and motivated workforce. (See The relationship between religion and work and The importance of good practice)
  • Employers should handle matters relating to religion and 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)
  • By putting together policies that set out the organisation's values and expected behaviour of employees with respect to religion and belief, employers can promote a culture of respect for religious diversity. (See Policies and procedures)
  • To ensure that employees are aware of the key issues surrounding religion and belief and that line managers are confident to deal with issues relating to religion and belief, employers should train employees and back up the training with regular updates. (See Raising awareness)
  • Encouraging a faith staff network can show the employer's support for religious diversity and provide a useful forum for canvassing employees on new practices and raising awareness on religion and belief. (See Staff networks)
  • Employers can take steps to target a more diverse pool of candidates. (See The recruitment process)
  • Agreeing to a request for annual leave or flexible working to enable an employee to practise his or her religion could make a big difference to the employee. (See Time off for religious observance and Flexible working)
  • Establishing a quiet room for prayer and contemplation can enable employees who practise a religion or belief to observe their faith at work with little disruption to the business. (See Prayer)
  • Being clear about the tasks that a job involves during the recruitment process and consulting with employees about any changes to a job role can help 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 staff and consider carefully the purpose of the code and whether or not it should apply to all staff and at all times. (See Uniform and dress codes)
  • Employers should be sensitive to employees' needs pertaining to their religion at workplace events and training, including 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)
  • A policy on harassment should set clear standards of acceptable behaviour and stipulate that transgression can be a disciplinary offence. Employers should providing training for managers on how to handle complaints of harassment. (See Proselytising and harassment)
  • Employers should monitor candidates and employees to establish the strength of their policies and practices on religion and belief and implement improvements. (See Monitoring)