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Religious Discrimination

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The EAT has held, in Saini v All Saints Haque Centre, that Regulation 5(1)(b) of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 will be breached not only where an employee is harassed on the grounds that he holds certain religious beliefs but also where he is harassed because someone else holds certain religious beliefs.

In reaching this conclusion, the EAT reasoned that:

  • regulation 5(1) requires conduct “on grounds of religion or belief” and as such, does not require the unwanted conduct to be on the grounds of the employee’s own religious beliefs.
  • such an interpretation is consistent with the aims and intention of the EC Framework Directive and with the judicial interpretation of the Race Relations Act 1976, which is similarly engaged where there is discriminatory conduct on the grounds of someone else’s race.
  • to use an employee in any manner in the implementation of a discriminatory policy is caught if the effect on the employee falls within any of the descriptions set out in paragraph 5(1)(b). The circumstances need not be confined to those where an employee has been instructed to act in a discriminatory fashion.

[Thanks to Sian Reeves, pupil barrister at 1 Temple Gardens, for summarising this case]