ACAS has published new guidance Religion or belief discrimination aimed at preventing discrimination at work.
The guidance came into effect in May this year and offers employers advice on how to comply with the Equality Act (2010) by protecting employees against discrimination based on religion and belief.
The Acas guidance highlights recruitment as a key area where employers should take care to ensure they avoid discrimination. It advises:
• Job adverts should be publicised widely and it is almost always better if employers don't mention religion in the posting.
• Training and development opportunities that help employees gain promotions should be organised so employees don't miss out due to religious observance.
• Opportunities for promotions. It would be discriminatory for an employer to discourage an employee from taking a promotion because of their religion.
The guidance also offers help to ensure that employers:
• Take a flexible approach to dress codes where possible
• Consider requests to use annual leave for religious reasons carefully and sympathetically
• Understand that fasting can impact on performance so employers should try to be understanding in line with business needs.
It is important to be mindful and sensitive to employee’s religious beliefs. Practices can conform to the law in terms of equality by having an up-to-date equality and diversity policy that is integrated into the key HR functions, with staff suitably trained.