Topics

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

  • Date:
    3 February 2021
    Type:
    Law reports

    Religious discrimination: Can transphobic views amount to a philosophical belief?

    In Higgs v Farmor's School, an employment tribunal considered whether or not an employee's belief opposing gender fluidity constituted a philosophical belief within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010.

  • Date:
    14 October 2020
    Type:
    Podcasts and webinars

    Podcast: Ten years of the Equality Act 2010 - what it means for employers

    Jo Broadbent, counsel knowledge lawyer at Hogan Lovells, explores the practical impact on employers of discrimination legislation, 10 years on from the introduction of the Equality Act 2010.

  • Type:
    Quick reference

    Religious discrimination awards

    Updated to reflect the religious discrimination awards made by employment tribunals in 2019/20.

  • Date:
    4 February 2020
    Type:
    Podcasts and webinars

    Podcast: Non-religious beliefs in the workplace

    Emma O'Connor, senior associate at law firm Boyes Turner, discusses the legal and practical implications for employers of the recent employment tribunal case involving a philosophical belief in ethical veganism.

  • Date:
    3 February 2020
    Type:
    Commentary and analysis

    Religion or belief discrimination: Are beliefs on veganism and gender transition protected?

    Consultant editor Darren Newman looks at the criteria applied by employment tribunals in recent cases to determine the sort of philosophical beliefs that should be protected by the Equality Act 2010.

  • Date:
    31 January 2020
    Type:
    Law reports

    Religion or belief discrimination: Veganism is a philosophical belief, rules tribunal

    In Casamitjana v The League Against Cruel Sports, an employment tribunal held that ethical veganism is capable of being a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010.

  • Date:
    17 January 2020
    Type:
    Commentary and analysis

    Equality Act 2010: Which non-religious beliefs are protected?

    Ethical veganism, democratic socialism, humanism and a refusal to lie to customers are among the eclectic list of beliefs that have come before courts and tribunals as potential "philosophical beliefs" under equality legislation. We round up which non-religious beliefs have been found to be protected under the Equality Act 2010.

  • Date:
    28 October 2019
    Type:
    Commentary and analysis

    Climate change protests: Five concerns for employers

    Widespread environmental protests, such as the Extinction Rebellion, are having an increasing everyday impact on employers. We round up potential issues for HR professionals who are dealing with disruption to their employer's operations as a result of climate change protests.

  • Date:
    23 October 2019
    Type:
    Law reports

    Refusal to sign copyright agreement not due to philosophical belief

    In Gray v Mulberry Company (Design) Ltd, the Court of Appeal held that the employee's refusal to sign a copyright agreement was not due to any philosophical belief, but to her wish to achieve greater protection for her own creative work.

  • Date:
    15 October 2019
    Type:
    Commentary and analysis

    Political beliefs in the workplace: what does the law say?

    As the debate over Brexit reaches a crescendo and leavers and remainers disagree on what should happen next, Richard Fox examines the extent to which employers can allow political debate in the workplace.

About this topic

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