Religious Discrimination Policy

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					              Isle of Anglesey County Council


               Religious Discrimination Policy




Prepared by:
Development Team
Human Resources
Managing Director’s Department

August 2004
March 2007
Religious Discrimination Policy



Definition of Religious Beliefs
'Religion' or 'belief' is defined in the Regulations simply as meaning 'any
religion, religious beliefs or similar philosophical belief'. With effect from April
2007 this definition will be extended to include those being of 'no religion, or
belief'. ACAS (Advisory Conciliation + Arbitration Service) list the following
mainstream religion, or beliefs : Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism,
Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism + Alheism.

However this list is not extensive and is growing and it will not always be easy
to determine. Some legal guidance is available in the form of criteria to assist
in the determination but again further developments are expected. As a result
this policy will be updated as appropriate.


Definition of Discrimination
Discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in matters of employment
and vocational training will be unlawful. People will be protected on the
ground of their religious status and on the ground of religious practice. The
Regulations prohibit direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and
victimisation on grounds of religion or beliefs, and are broadly similar to the
anti-discrimination provisions in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Race
Relations Act 1976. At present this regulation relates to employment ONLY
and is not a service requirement.

Direct Discrimination

This occurs when:

    •   on grounds of religion or belief. A treats B less favourably than he or
        she treats or would treat other persons.

This wording prohibits less favourable treatment based on:

    •   the complainant's religion or belief
    •   the alleged discriminator's perception of the complainant's religion or
        belief - a perception which could be mistaken.
    •   the complainant's association with someone of a particular religion or
        belief.
    •   a refusal by the complainant to comply with a discriminatory instruction.

It will also be unlawful for a person of a particular religion or belief to
discriminate against someone of the same religion or belief - for example, it
would be unlawful for a Jewish employer to dismiss a Jewish employee
because that employee does not observe the Sabbath.




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Indirect Discrimination
Disputes in relation to religious practice - for example, requests for time off for
holy days - will bring into play the provisions on indirect discrimination. The
Regulations provide that indirect discrimination occurs when:

    •   a provision, criterion or practice is applied equally to persons not of the
        same religion or belief, and
    •   persons of a particular religion or belief are put at a disadvantage when
        compared to other persons, and
    •   the provision, criterion or practice cannot be shown to be a
        proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.


Victimisation
A person is victimised if he or she is treated less favourably than others are
because he or she has committed one of the following protected acts:

    •   brought proceedings against the alleged discriminator or any other
        person under the Regulations
    •   given evidence or information in connection with proceedings brought
        by any person against the alleged discriminator or any other person
        under the Regulations
    •   otherwise done anything under or by reference to the Regulations in
        relation to the alleged discriminator or any other person, or
    •   alleged that the alleged discriminator or any other person has
        committed ac act which would amount to a contravention of the
        Regulations.

Victimisation is also unlawful if the alleged discriminator knows or suspects
that the person victimised intends to do any of the activities listed above.
However, a person is not victimised if the allegations, evidence or information
were false and not made (or, as the case may, be given) in good faith.


Post-employment Discrimination

It will also be unlawful to discriminate against or harass a person after a
working relationship has ended, provided the discriminatory act is closely
linked to the former relationship. So, for example, it will be unlawful for an
employer, on grounds of religion or belief, to refuse to provide a reference for
a former employee who during the course of the employment committed a
protected act.




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Harassment
It will also be unlawful to harass (whether intentionally or not) another person
on grounds of religion or belief. Harassment is unwanted conduct that
violates the dignity of a person or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading,
humiliating or offensive environment.


Recruitment
It will be unlawful for an employer to discriminate against job applicants
(internal or external):

    (a) in the arrangements he or she makes when determining to whom he or
        she should offer employment;
    (b) in the terms on which he or she offers that person employment;
    (c) by refusing to offer or deliberately not offering him or her employment.


Employment

It will be unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person whom he
or she employs:

    (a) in the term of employment;
    (b) in the opportunities that he or she affords for promotion, transfer,
        training or any other benefit (i.e. facilities and services);
    (c) by refusing any such opportunity; or
    (d) by dismissing or subjecting him or her to any other detriment.

It will also be unlawful to harass a person whom he or she employs or who
has applied to him or her for employment.


Exceptions to Discrimination - Genuine Occupational
Requirements (GORs)
Two exceptions to discrimination apply but only in the context of recruitment,
promotion, transfer, training or opportunities to receive other benefits, and
dismissal - where:

        1) Having regard to the nature of the employment or the context in
        which it is carried out:

            •   being of a particular religion or belief is a genuine and
                determining occupational requirement
            •   it is proportionate to apply that requirement in the particular case
            •   either the person to whom that requirement is applied does not
                meet it, or the employer is not satisfied, and in all the

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                circumstances it is reasonable for him or her not to be satisfied,
                that that person meets it. (This will subsequently be referred to
                as 'the general GOR').

        2) The employer has an ethos based on religion or belief and, having
        regard to that ethos and to the nature of the employment or the context
        in exceptions to discrimination apply - but only in the context which it is
        carried out:

            •   being of a particular religion or belief is a GOR for the job
            •   it is proportionate to apply that requirement in the particular case
            •   either the person to whom that requirement is applied does not
                meet it, or the employer is not satisfied, and in all the
                circumstances it is reasonable for him or her not to be satisfied,
                that that person meets it. (This will subsequently be referred to
                as 'the religious organisations GOR').

The GORs do not render lawful discrimination in relation to terms of
employment and do not render lawful any other detriment, such as demotion.


Contract Workers
It will be unlawful for a principal (i.e. a person or business who uses the
services of a contract worker supplied by another employer) to discriminate
against a contract worker:

            a) in the terms on which he or she allows him or her to that work;
            b) by not allowing him or her to do it or continue doing it;
            c) in the way he or she affords him or her access to any benefits;
               or
            d) by subjecting him or her to any other detriment.

It will also be unlawful for a principal to harass a contract worker. However,
the principal will be allowed to discriminate against contract workers if they
are required to do work for which a particular religion or belief is a GOR (see
above).


Liability for Discrimination and Remedies
An employer will be liable for the acts of his or her employees, whether or not
he or she knew or approved of those acts. However, it will be open to an
employer to argue, as a defence, that he or she took reasonable steps to
prevent the employee's acts. Principals will be liable for the discriminatory
acts to agents and do not have a 'reasonable steps' defence open to them.
Employees and agents who commit discriminatory acts will also be personally
liable for discrimination.

The Authority will include as part of their induction scheme.

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Religious Discrimination

Introduction

The EU Equal Treatment Framework Directive (No. 2000/78) was formally
adopted by the European Council on 27 November, 2000. The Directive
requires member states to implement legislation outlawing discrimination in
the workplace on the grounds of sexual orientation and religion or belief by 2
December, 2003.

The Regulations are likely to pose some important challenges for employers.
In particular, difficulties are likely to arise form the general ignorance in
society about different religions.


Scope of the Regulations

At the present time the Regulations apply only to employment issues and not
service issues.


Implementation in the Workplace

A number of issues need to be considered and whether they conflict with a
employer's rules and requirements e.g. dress codes, break policies,
recruitment and job applications, flexible scheduling and religious leave.

To ensure there is no conflict, one way is to ask employees what their
requirements are by:

    (a) including as part of induction
    (b) and for existing staff by including a note in salaries so that staff are
        asked to indicate their requirements to their line manager so that
        suitable arrangements can be made.

It is recommended that Ynys Môn County Council follow this practice and
amend their current induction arrangements.




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