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Religion or belief discrimination

Fiona Cuming

Editor's message: Issues around the protected characteristic of “religion or belief” can be particularly sensitive for organisations. Workers should be free to practise their religion, but this freedom can sometimes be at odds with your business’s needs.

The workplace issues that most commonly arise include time off and flexible working patterns for religious observance, flexible working, facilities for prayer, and dress codes. These matters can lead to the risk of claims for direct or indirect discrimination.

Misunderstandings about different religions and beliefs can also result in harassment claims. Raising awareness about different religions and beliefs can address misconceptions and allow your workers to understand what is and is not appropriate behaviour.

Awareness training should not be a one-off event, and you should consider incorporating issues associated with religion in the workplace into mainstream training activities and policies and processes.

Fiona Cuming, employment law editor

New and updated

  • Podcast: Brexit and political opinions at work

    Date:
    22 March 2019
    Type:
    Audio and video

    How should employers approach political discussions at work? Can employers prevent employees from displaying pro- or anti-Brexit paraphernalia at work? What about staff campaigning or protesting outside working hours? Will employers making redundancies because of Brexit really choose leave voters as the first to go? We discuss five scenarios related to Brexit and political opinions at work.

  • Coming soon to XpertHR

    Type:
    Editor's choice

    Updated to include information on the forthcoming Sickness absence rates and costs survey.

  • Religious discrimination: Justifying shift rota requiring work on Sabbath

    Date:
    20 March 2019
    Type:
    Law reports

    In The City of Oxford Bus Services Ltd t/a Oxford Bus Company v Harvey, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that, when deciding if an employer's working arrangements are justified, the tribunal must focus on justifying the rule in the particular circumstances of the business, rather than the application of the rule to the individual.

  • Religion or belief discrimination

    Type:
    Employment law manual

    Updated to include information on Gan Menachem Hendon Ltd v De Groen, in which the EAT considered if a Jewish employee's dismissal for "cohabitation" amounted to religious discrimination.

  • Dismissal for "cohabitation outside marriage" is not religious discrimination, rules EAT

    Date:
    21 February 2019
    Type:
    Law reports

    In Gan Menachem Hendon Ltd v De Groen, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that a claim of direct religious discrimination cannot be sustained simply on the basis that an employer acted in the way it did because of its own religious beliefs.

  • Date:
    11 January 2019
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    As always, HR professionals had their fair share of employment law cases to keep track of in 2018, but what were the 10 most important judgments in 2018 that every employer should know about?

  • Tribunal to consider discrimination against vegan

    Date:
    4 December 2018
    Type:
    News

    An employment tribunal will next year decide if "ethical veganism" is a philosophical belief in a case involving a man who claims he was discriminated against by his employer, the League Against Cruel Sports.

  • Date:
    1 November 2018
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    The editor of Waitrose's Food magazine resigned this week after comments he made about "killing vegans" and "force-feeding them meat" drew criticism. Beverley Sunderland of Crossland Employment Solicitors explains why expressing such views in a work environment should be seen as a sackable offence.

  • Date:
    18 October 2018
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    It is the case which has captivated the nation almost as much as the Great British Bake-Off. Tom Long looks at what last week's Supreme Court ruling in Lee v Ashers Baking Company means for UK employers.

  • No direct sexual orientation discrimination in Christian bakery's refusal to make "gay cake"

    Date:
    11 October 2018
    Type:
    Law reports

    In Lee v Ashers Baking Co Ltd and others, the Supreme Court held that a Christian bakery did not commit direct sexual orientation discrimination in the provision of goods and services when it refused to fulfil a cake order with a message in support of same-sex marriage.

About this topic

HR and legal information and guidance relating to religion or belief discrimination.