75% of people in the UK have a religion. Employers therefore need to understand the responsibilities and the opportunities associated with addressing issues of religion and belief in the workplace.
Since 2nd December, 2003 legislation has been in place making it unlawful to discriminate against any employee or worker on the basis of their religion or belief. This legislation encompasses all aspects of employment culture from recruitment through to dismissal.
The regulations make it unlawful on the grounds of religion or belief to:
- Discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone, either intentionally or unintentionally during and, in some circumstances, after, the course of a working relationship;
- Subject someone to harassment through unwanted conduct that violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them;
- Victimise someone because they have made a complaint or allegation, or have given evidence against someone else in relation to a complaint of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.
The six main religions are:
- Christian - 71.8%
- Muslim - 2.8%
- Hindu - 1%
- Sikh - 0.6%
- Jewish - 0.5%
- Buddhist - 0.3%
(Source: Office of National Statistics).