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Religious discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 contains provisions which protect employees from being discriminated against on the grounds of religion or belief, one of the other protected characteristics. The provisions apply to all elements of employment from recruitment, access to training, promotion, dismissals, etc.

Under the Equality Act, religion can mean an organised religion such as Christianity, Judaism or Islam or a smaller religion such as Paganism or Rastafarianism so long as there is a clear structure and belief system. Philosophical belief is also protected (for example, ‘environmentalism’ could be a protected philosophical belief). The philosophical belief must apply to an important cause, be genuinely held and be more than simply an opinion. The belief must also be cogent and serious. The Equality Act also protects people with no religion if they are discriminated against because of their beliefs. You can also be discriminated against if you are connected to someone who has a religion or belief. This is known as discrimination by association.

The European Convention on Human Rights gives citizens a right to manifest a religion or belief. This means employees have the right to wear certain types of clothing or symbols in the workplace associated with their belief. This is a qualified right, however, that can sometimes be overridden by other factors, such as health and safety.

Do you need a religious discrimination lawyer?

Under the act the following types of discrimination are prohibited:

  • Direct
  • Indirect
  • Harassment
  • Victimisation

Discrimination on grounds of religion or belief may be permitted where there is an occupational requirement for a specific religion, for teachers in denominational schools and for Sikhs working on building sites.

If one employee harasses another on grounds of religion, the employer will still be liable unless it has taken reasonable steps from preventing such behaviour from taking place.

Please note that you must bring most employment tribunal claims no later than three months from the date of the act of discrimination, so do not delay in seeking advice.

Religious Discrimination Lawyers Sheffield

Ironmonger Curtis with Bell & Buxton is a full service law firm based in Sheffield and serving Rotherham, Chesterfield, Barnsley, Dronfield and further afield. Our solicitors provide timely and effective advice to individuals and businesses on all aspects of discrimination and employment law and pride ourselves on our personal approach that has allowed us to establish strong, long-term relationships with our clients. Our expert solicitors also provide specialist advice and guidance on company & commercial law, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, commercial litigation and commercial property.

Contact Ironmonger Curtis with Bell & Buxton Employment Solicitors for further information.

For business law advice call 0114 249 59 69


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