What are examples of religious discrimination in the workplace?
The following are some examples of religious discrimination at work:
- Making someone redundant because of their religion or belief.
- Requiring someone to dress in a certain way, such as wear a shorter skirt when this is not acceptable to them.
- Requiring that someone removes religious symbols from their clothing unless there are justifiable health and safety reasons.
- Setting working hours that mean someone cannot work because of their religion.
- Making jokes about someone’s religion but passing it off as ‘friendly banter’.
What are your religious rights at work?
An employer is under no obligation under the law to allow time off for religious holidays or prayers. However, they should be as sympathetic and flexible as possible. Refusing to accommodate somebody’s religious needs when they could reasonably do so could amount to discrimination. For example, if an employee prays at a specific time of the day, their employer could consider changing the times of breaks.
When an employee makes a request on religious grounds, they too are expected to be reasonable and flexible towards the needs of the business. If a large group of employees are likely to request the same time off for a religious festival, for example, then the employer has the right not to grant all requests as this could be detrimental to the business.
When considering requests, an employer must not favour the needs of one religious group over another, as this could give rise to a discrimination claim.
How do you claim for religious discrimination in the workplace?
If you have experienced religious belief discrimination in the workplace, the first step is to talk to your employer or HR department and follow their grievance procedures.
If you do not achieve a satisfactory outcome, the next step is to register your claim with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). It is essential to act quickly because you have just three months less one day from the date the discrimination took place to register with ACAS.
Our religious discrimination solicitors can support you through your employer’s grievance procedures and the ACAS conciliation process. Where conciliation fails, we can file a claim for you at an employment tribunal.