24th January 2013

Recent ruling regarding religious beliefs will gave implications in the workplace

A recent case involving an individual who refused to carry out civil partnership ceremonies which were contrary to her religious beliefs is set to have long term consequences in the workplace according to Aaliyah Kola-Amaar, employment specialist at law firm Cartwright King.

The judges ruled that the Council involved was within its legal rights to insist that the individual carried out such ceremonies as it had to consider the rights of all individuals including same sex couples.

Going forward this means that whilst employees have the right to hold a religion or belief, they are not able to manifest their religious beliefs as they choose, regardless of national law.

This recent decision supports the view that employers are entitled to require their employees to comply with their internal policies, as long as they include the employer’s legal obligations, even if those policies require an individual to act in a way which conflicts with their religion. Employers will however need to be careful that they do not discriminate against employees for holding certain religious beliefs.

“There is now concern amongst those within the Christian institute that individuals who hold traditional Christian and other religious beliefs are now at risk of being subjected to scrutiny in the workplace.”
said Aaliyah.

“This could result in discrimination against a person purely because of their religion and this is against the law. This landmark ruling demonstrates religion is not attributed special rights in today’s society.”

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