Religion or belief discrimination: the scope and limits of employers’ duties

A number of recent developments in the area of religion and belief discrimination merit employers’ attention. First, what types of non-religious beliefs are protected? Second, to what extent must employers comply with the law when an employee’s conduct takes the form of manifestation of his/her belief (as opposed to the simple fact of holding such a belief)?

Although this area of law is highly fact-sensitive (show us one which is not!), a number of common denominators can help you deal with these issues. As a starting point, we suggest that employers should bear in mind that the legislation has been found to protect a wider range of beliefs than was previously thought. If you are faced with a belief-related request or grievance, it will be cautious to examine carefully whether the belief is protected. Do not dismiss the issue out of hand simply because you cannot conceive the belief to be protected. To establish whether the belief is protected, go through a thorough review of the relevant facts and apply them to the guidelines set out in Grainger v Nicholson and subsequent case law…

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