This September we’re talking about multi-faith representation in the workplace. Your employees have legally protected practices and observances, are you doing enough to actively facilitate their legal rights?
There are both national and European frameworks to consider in this, including the Employment Equality Framework Directive 2000. These regulations insisted company management teams implement fair hiring and combat discrimination in the workplace. That includes, sexual orientation, religious belief, or disability. Discrimination, in any form, is illegal.
Laws around religions in the workplace
You also need to consider the implications of TheHuman Rights Act 1998. This protects and enshrines religious belief as a human right. And means employees have the right to hold a belief and the right to practice a belief in the workplace. The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulationsand the GB Equality Act 2010go even further. Protected rights are time for religious observance, dietary requirements, modesty, and prayer.
So how do we manage this? Diversity and equality can’t just be skin deep. Having diversity of belief, and non-belief, in the workplace is central to demonstrating that you value your employees, regardless of the legality of discrimination. And it is a recognition that belief, or non-belief, can support an employee’s wellbeing, and the work they do. Here are our tips for dealing with faith differences in the workplace:
- Your staff may subscribe to different ideas and creeds outside of work but in the office your business goals and ethos must always be your guide. Use these to consider how to deal with delicate situations. After all, even when religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender are at play, your company values should always bring people together.
- Make the equal treatment of all employees regardless of traits like religion a mandate. Of course, the law prohibits different treatment based on religion. But including the tenet of equal treatment and respect in the firm’s code of ethics demonstrates the company’s commitment to a culture of inclusion.
- Include religious observances and practices as part of your ongoing training programme of training for both new and existing staff. Your business will grow and flex around new challenges. Make sure all of your teams know what’s available to them, and what’s not acceptable.
Business benefits of religious diversity
History is full of examples of cultures and economies that were enriched by open dialogue and exchange between religions and societies. That Spiced Latte you’ve welcomed back into your life this autumn is a several thousand year old conversation between cultures. In a globally interlinked economy, we must embrace difference. We have legal obligations to do so.
At VERCIDA, we believe in the right to bring your whole self to work. We champion the right to religious freedom. And we combat discrimination through the work that we do and the solutions we bring to the table. Find out more about us here.