Expression of Religion in the workplace – How far is too far?

legal updates

If an individual is treated less favourably due to their religious beliefs then this would be considered to be Direct Discrimination.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

In a recent Tribunal decision, a discussion was had in relation to religious expression.

A case had been brought by an employee of religious discrimination. The core issue in the case was whether the Employees conduct constituted innocent expression of religion, or whether their actions were an inappropriate manifestation of religious beliefs in the workplace.

If an individual is treated less favourably due to their religious beliefs then this would be considered to be Direct Discrimination. The Employee was accused of harassing other members of staff during training sessions with her devotedly Christian views. As a result the Employee was dismissed.

The Employee made a claim to the value of £500,000 as she claimed to have been discriminated against for the following reasons;

  • Her dismissal was purely based on the fact she was a Christian
  • The fact that she was actively told that it was not company policy to hold Bible sessions in the workplace
  • The fact that she was actively told that it was unsuitable to have discussions about God in the workplace; and allegations that she was informed that her conversations about God to other members of staff were unsuitable

The Tribunal found against the Employee and felt that she had not been discriminated against, and that the reason for her dismissal was not based on religion but on the basis of her behaviour and the way in which she acted and manifested her belief within the workplace. The Tribunal was also careful to distinguish between holding a religious belief, and manifesting a religious belief. Holding is to just have that belief, and Manifesting is to act in a way in line with the practice of that region, i.e. by a manner of dress or diet

The Employee appealed the case, which was not successful. The EAT held the same opinion as the Tribunal that there was a clear distinction between manifesting and holding and as such the actions undertaken by the Employee were manifesting a religious belief and therefore could not be discriminated against. It was the way in which she manifested her beliefs which lead to this conclusion being drawn, which the EAT where clear to point out.

InvolutionSTAFF UNIFORM | PROMOTIONAL WEAR | MERCHANDISE | BUSINESS GIFTS

Leading experts in print, promotional clothing, staff uniforms, branded merchandise and PPE. Involution is your brand partner for promotional marketing and workwear, a one-stop-shop for your branded marketing needs for any business size and industry.

Dennis ChapmanIn remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015Read More by this author

Related Legal Updates

Employment Law: Carer’s Leave

The regulations explicitly safeguard employees from any detriment or dismissal resulting from taking or seeking to take carer’s leave.

Employment Law: Annual Leave Changes

Several significant changes came into force on 1 January 2024 that affect the statutory annual leave and pay entitlements.

The office Christmas party season is here

Where an employee makes comments concerning a person’s body parts or style of dress that are intended to be good-natured but are perceived as offensive…

Update on Rights to Flexible Working Requests

Employers will remain entitled to turn down a request pointing to reasonable grounds as a basis for refusal.

Three new employment laws for 2024

The Carers Leave Act, The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act and The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act.

Parents and Carers: New Protections at Work

Parents and carers will benefit from the following new employment protections that received royal assent in May 2023.

Toilet provision in the workplace

It’s hard to imagine this sensible judgment was not a relief for all the employees involved in the use of these toilets.

Get in touch

Complete the form to get in touch or via our details below:

Phone
01480 455500
Address

Vinpenta House
High Causeway
Whittlesey
Peterborough
PE7 1AE

By submitting this quote you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.