The Equality Act 2010 states that it is unlawful to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their religion or belief. This includes a lack of religion or belief and includes philosophical beliefs.
The Act applies to vocational training and all aspects of employment, including recruitment, terms and conditions, promotions, transfers, dismissals and training.
Religion or belief is defined as being any religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief.
It is unlawful on the grounds of religion or belief to:
- discriminate directly against any of your employees by treating them less favourably than others because of their religion or belief;
- discriminate indirectly against any of your employees by applying a criterion, provision or practice which disadvantages anyone of a particular religion or belief unless this can be justified;
- subject an employee to bullying or harassment. That is, any conduct that violates an employee’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment;
- victimise someone because they have made (or intend to make) a complaint or allegation relating to their discrimination;
There may be exceptions in very limited circumstances, for example if there is a requirement for the employee to be of a particular religion or belief in order to be able to do the job or to comply with the religious nature of your organisation.
Your employee may decide to resign because they feel their position is no longer tenable as a result of the discrimination they have suffered, in which case they will also have a potential claim for constructive dismissal.
If you would like more detailed information about religious discrimination, Ashby Cohen can help you. We specialise in employment law cases, and our years of experience as employment lawyers make us uniquely qualified to assist you with any religious discrimination issues you may have. Please contact us for an initial free telephone consultation.
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