religious discrimination

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Is prejudicial action against a worker because of their religious beliefs. Examples include denying employment to someone because they are a Catholic, a Muslim, or a Rastafarian, all cases of direct discrimination. Discrimination can also arise from having a system of employment rules in place, which are not discriminatory in themselves, but which work against the interests of a particular faith group ( indirect discrimination); for example, having a dress code that is difficult for devout Muslims to adhere to (e.g. an insistence that beards are shaved or that women have to wear non-full length skirts). Religious discrimination, according to some definitions, also includes prejudicial action against someone because of their non-belief; that is discrimination against atheists and agnostics. The issue of dress codes and religious belief has been a controversial one in the UK (and other countries) in recent years with some employers insisting that all religious symbols be removed by their workers (e.g. non-wearing of crucifixes) and that the wearing of a veil that completely covers the face by Muslim women is incompatible with the social interaction needed in service jobs. These and similar issues are likely to continue to remain controversial. In the European Union, religious discrimination is unlawful as a result of the Equal Treatment Framework Directive. [See also Fair Employment Act and religion and belief regulations.]

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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