Religion and belief discrimination at work
The Equality Act 2010 says that you cannot be discriminated against because of your religion or philosophical belief or lack of religion or belief. If you think that you've been treated unfairly in the workplace because of your faith, talk to one of our friendly employment law solicitors today.
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What is religion and belief discrimination?
, it's unlawful for any employer - or colleague - to discriminate against you on the basis of your faith, religion or other sincerely held philosophical belief. This discrimination can take many forms: from employers refusing interviews to suitable candidates simply because of their religion or other beliefs, to workmates mocking or abusing you for your faith.
Importantly, in making religion or belief a protected characteristic, the Equality Act 2010 doesn't limit itself simply to organised religions or mainstream beliefs. In the same way as you may not be discriminated against for being Christian, Muslim, Sikh or Jewish, it may also be unlawful if you're discriminated against for being a vegan, Wiccan, Marxist or Creationist. The belief must be cogent, serious and apply to an important aspect of human life or behaviour.
This means that the test for whether your religion, faith or belief is covered by discrimination laws is not that it must be mainstream or widely practiced, only that it must be a sincerely held belief which is worthy of respect in a democratic society.
If you've suffered workplace discrimination because of your religion or beliefs – even if it occurred during the recruitment process - speak to one of our experienced employment discrimination solicitors today. Call us on or and we'll call you.
What sorts of religious discrimination are there?
It's a sad fact of life that some people are quite intolerant with regards to other people's faith and beliefs. This often results in behaviour that, even if it's regarded as light-hearted banter by some people, causes an atmosphere that can be intimidating and humiliating to the person being discriminated against. In the context of your workplace, this means that there are four broad types of discrimination:
- Direct discrimination: This might happen during the recruitment process when you're discriminated against because you practice a religion that might make you stand out amongst the rest of the workforce.
- Indirect discrimination: This can happen due to rules that affect all workers but only cause disadvantage to followers of a particular belief, for example a rule requiring that all workers are clean shaven. It can also be the case that rules affecting all workers could prohibit the wearing of some symbols of religious faith while making others permissible.
- Victimisation: This occurs when you've made a complaint in the workplace about inflammatory or abusive comments from workmates, or official complaints about indirectly discriminatory company policies.
- Harassment: This can happen when the pervading culture in a workplace leads colleagues to believe that jokes and insults about another person's religious or other beliefs are acceptable leading to an unwanted hostile, intimidating or degrading environment in the workplace.
If you believe you've been discriminated against at work because of your religious or other beliefs, speak to one of our experienced employment discrimination solicitors today. Call us on or and we'll call you.
Can I claim for religious discrimination?
If you've been subjected to discrimination, harassment or victimisation at work on account of your faith, religion or other beliefs, you need to act as soon as possible in order to make a claim under the Equality Act 2010. You have only three months, minus one day, from the date of the last discriminatory act to start a complaint at an employment tribunal.
Before you can do this, you first need to notify the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) regarding your claim. They will establish whether your employer will agree to 'early conciliation', which takes up to a month, and is added onto the three-month period if necessary. If ACAS conciliation fails, we're here to help you to make a religious discrimination claim at an employment tribunal.
If you believe you've been unfairly discriminated against, victimised or harassed on the grounds of your religion, faith, or any other sincerely held philosophical belief, speak to one of our experienced solicitors today. Call us on or and we'll call you.
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