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    « Stonewall’s Equality Index 2017 reveals UK’s top inclusive employers | Main | Supporting staff with life-threatening or long-term conditions »
    Saturday
    Dec102016

    New Religion and belief guidance

    Is it harassment if an employee talks freely about religion and belief? How might organisations be held responsible if staff express their views on social media? If a student claims he is a Jedi knight, would he be covered by the legislation? What steps should employers take when handling employee requests? Would new guidance help?

    Religion or belief is one of the nine protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010. People have legal protection from being discriminated against because of religion or belief under this Act. They also have an absolute right to hold (with a qualified right to manifest) a religion or belief under Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

    The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance following a three-year programme of work on religion and belief. The guidance consists of:

    • a downloadable guide to the law.
    • a practical decision-making tool
    • a series of frequently asked questions

    The guide to the law provides an overview of the legal protections for people with or without a religion or belief. It answers commonly asked questions such as what is indirect discrimination and can it ever be justified, and how much employers are expected to know about religion or belief in order to fulfil their legal obligations.

    The online decision-making tool provides employers with a step-by-step approach to properly considering a religion or belief request

    The frequently asked questions section covers a range of topics including time off work, recruitment, food and dietary requirements, dress codes and wearing of religious symbols, opting out of work duties and expressing personal views and beliefs at work.

    You can access the guidance here

    The Equality and Human Rights Commission has also published their research report, ‘Religion or belief: is the law working?’ You can download the report here

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