The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 protects employees from religious discrimination in the workplace. “Religion” is defined as “as any religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief.” No precise religion or philosophy of belief is mentioned in the statute. Non-believers are also protected in their philosophy or absence of belief. The Birmingham Employment Tribunal will hear a solicitors case against management if an employee believes that unfair treatment or harassment is directed at them because of perceived notions about their religion or a familiarity with members of a distinct sect or religion.
There are four central sections of discrimination based on religion:
The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 protects workers in all steps of the employment process including recruiting, during employment, deciding who gets training and when considering benefits, bonuses, promotions, transfers, and dismissals. Employers and managers also cannot deny a qualified and competent individual a reference based on their religious belief or perceived religion.
On rare occasions exceptions are made to the rules in order to support a “genuine occupational requirement” which occurs if an individual “must be of a particular religion or hold certain religious beliefs in order to perform the job or abide by the religious ethos of the business or organisation.”
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