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This equipment was donated by Thompsons solicitors. Update on Equality Law: Are We Catching Up? Wednesday 5 th December 2007. Religious Discrimination at Work. Dr Lucy Vickers Reader in Law Oxford Brookes University.

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This equipment was donated by thompsons solicitors

This equipment was donated by Thompsons solicitors

Update on Equality Law: Are We Catching Up?

Wednesday 5th December 2007


Religious discrimination at work

Religious Discrimination at Work

Dr Lucy Vickers

Reader in Law

Oxford Brookes University

Institute of Employment Rights Equalities Update Wednesday 5th December 2007


The employment equality religion or belief regulations 2003

The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003

  • Few cases brought so far

  • Approx. half of cases dealt with by ACAS brought by Muslims

  • Other claims by Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and ‘non-Catholics’ claiming against Catholic schools

  • Claims have included bullying and harassment, verbal abuse, giving individuals impossible deadlines, subjecting claimants to increased scrutiny, denying access to training, refusing holiday requests, and disputes over dress codes

Institute of Employment Rights Equalities Update Wednesday 5th December 2007


Definition of religion or belief

Definition of Religion or Belief

  • ‘any religion, religious belief, or philosophical belief,’

    • amended in Equality Act 2006 from ‘religion or similar philosophical belief’

  • includes reference to a lack of a religion or belief

  • ECHR suggests that beliefs must have sufficient ‘cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance’

  • Devine v Home Office

Institute of Employment Rights Equalities Update Wednesday 5th December 2007


This equipment was donated by thompsons solicitors

Religion or Belief Regulations

  • Direct Discrimination

  • Indirect Discrimination

    • Requirements to work on Saturdays or Sundays

    • Disputes over dress or grooming codes

      Azmi v Kirklees Metropolitan Council

      Harris v NKL Automotive

  • Justification and proportionality standards

Institute of Employment Rights Equalities Update Wednesday 5th December 2007


Religion or belief regulations

Religion or Belief Regulations

  • Harassment

    • No reported cases

    • However, according to ACAS and earlier research, this is a common form of discrimination

    • Recognition of potential conflict with sexual orientation harassment, freedom of expression and freedom of religion

  • Victimisation

Institute of Employment Rights Equalities Update Wednesday 5th December 2007


Exception for genuine occupational requirement

Exception for genuine occupational requirement

  • The standard exception:

    • religious requirement is a genuine and determining occupational requirement and it is proportionate to apply that requirement in the particular case

  • The Religious Ethos Organisation exception

    • religious requirement is genuine and it is proportionate to apply that requirement in the particular case

  • Glasgow City Council v McNab

Institute of Employment Rights Equalities Update Wednesday 5th December 2007


Exception for genuine occupational requirement1

Exception for genuine occupational requirement

  • Exceptions do not allow discrimination on any other ground

  • Except ‘for the purposes of on organised religion’ see Regulation 7(3) Sexual Orientation Regulations

    • Amicus

    • Reaney v Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance

Institute of Employment Rights Equalities Update Wednesday 5th December 2007


Further developments

Further developments

  • Equality Act 2006 introduces protection against religious discrimination in the provision to the public of goods, facilities or services, and the provision of premises

  • Exception for non-commercial of organisations relating to religion or belief, where necessary to comply with the religion or to avoid offence on grounds of religion

Institute of Employment Rights Equalities Update Wednesday 5th December 2007


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