The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 implement the Equal Treatment Framework Directive in the UK. The regulations give protection from direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, victimization, and harassment on the basis of ‘any religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief’. It is as yet unclear whether the law provides protection to atheists or agnostics. Direct discrimination is permissible under the law where there is a genuine occupational requirement. This can occur when being of a particular religion is an essential requirement of a job or when an employer has an ethos based on religion or belief. The protection provided against indirect discrimination has serious implications for a number of HR policies. Employers run the risk of having a legal case taken against them if they do not have leave, working time, dress code or meals policies that accommodate the needs of different faith groups; for example, a leave policy that allows Muslims to go on pilgrimage.
Subjects: Human Resource Management.