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Religion and Belief

The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 came into force on the 2nd December 2003. The Regulations prevent discrimination in employment on the grounds of religion or belief. The Equality Act 2010 replaces these regulations. The Council’s obligations as an employer remain largely the same. This guidance aims to help Managers understand how to comply with legislation when recognising and managing the expression of a religion or belief in the workplace. 

Religion or belief can be defined as:

Any religious belief, provided the religion has a clear structure or belief system. Denominations or sects within a religion can be considered a protected religion or religious belief.

It is as unlawful to discriminate against a person for not holding a particular (or any) religious or philosophical belief as it is to discriminate against someone for holding a religious or philosophical belief.

Discrimination can occur even when both the discriminator and person being discriminated against hold the same religious or philosophical belief.

Below are some of the most commonly practiced religions and beliefs in Britain. However there are many more and this list should not be considered to be exhaustive.

  • Atheism
  • Baha’i
  • Buddhism
  • Christianity
  • Hinduism
  • Islam (Muslims)
  • Jainism
  • Judaism
  • Rastafarianism
  • Sikhism
  • Zoroastrians (parsi)

We strive to be an equal opportunity employer and have an obligation under the regulations to ensure that discrimination does not take place in the workplace irrespective of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, language, disability, religion, age, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, parental or marital status, and pregnancy or maternity. Please also refer to the Equality and Diversity Policy which can be found under HR Policies and guidance on the intranet.

Although the regulations do not give any legal right to receive time off, paid or unpaid for religious reasons, annual leave, flexible working hours or unpaid leave can be considered depending on the circumstances and where leave entitlement has been exhausted. Please refer to the Time off Policy on the intranet.

When considering a religion or belief request by an employee, you should assess whether the religion or belief is genuine and also whether accepting or rejecting the request will be lawful under the equality and human rights legislation.


Religion and belief guidance (.pdf)

Page updated: 16/04/2021 13:50:48