Almost 60% of the UK’s population are religious. Our Faith and Religion hub has been designed to provide employment advice for all those who practise a religion or faith.

The UK is a richly diverse society where people of different faiths, beliefs, cultures and ethnic backgrounds are welcomed. Yet, some people who practise religion can face challenges in their everyday lives. Mostly these challenges arise when there is a lack of understanding of a culture that differs from our own. 

How do I identify religious discrimination?

There are three common areas where discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief occur in an employment setting. It’s important to be aware of these areas so that you can identify if you have faced discrimination because of your religion.  

  • Recruitment 

Discrimination can happen at any point of the recruitment process. This includes through the job advert, during the application or interview and the job offer. Employers take steps towards reducing bias in recruitment, however if your feel you have been treated unfairly because of your religion or belief then this may be classed as discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.  

  • Taking time away from work 

If you want to take time away from work for a religious reason, for example to pray or attend a religious holiday or festival, your employer is not obligated to automatically approve your request. It is important to communicate well and be honest with your employer. Employers are encouraged to be flexible and reasonable about granting leave for a religious reason. If they cannot provide a good business reason for the refusal of your request, then this could amount to discrimination.  

  • Dress codes 

If you’re required to dress a certain way because of your religion or belief, then employers should take this into consideration. For example, some people may want to avoid a specific style, cut or fit of uniform, or may want to avoid wearing a particular item of clothing altogether. Be open and honest with your employer about your dress code requirements. It is likely that your employer will be able to grant your request, or reach a mutual agreement. We also recommend seeking support through a staff network who may be able to help you with your dress code request.  

We understand that people who practise a religion or faith may not fully understand their rights in an employment setting. That’s why we have created this simple guide. In our Faith and Religion hub, you will find tailored advice regarding: 

Your rights

One of the most important things to understand is that discrimination on the grounds of a religion or belief is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010. This means that it is against the law for your employer to treat you unfairly because of your religion.  

Visit our guide to learn more about your rights and protected status under the UK law.   

Support and Resources

There are a number of helpful charities and organisations that provide support to religious people, including both employment and legal advice.  

Visit our guide to find out more about these useful organisations and how to contact them for support.

Faith and religion
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