The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a major call for evidence from individuals and organisations about how their religion or belief, or that of other people, may have affected their experiences in the workplace and in using the services and facilities they need in everyday life.
The Commission wants to gather as much information as possible including those of employees, employers, trade unions, legal advisors and religion or belief organisations about the issues people face and how they find solutions. Despite a number of high profile legal cases involving the manifestation of religion or belief, very little is known about how frequently these issues occur in practice.
The information received will be used to assess how employers and service providers are taking religion or belief into account and the impact this has on individuals. The Commission will also use the evidence as part of its work looking at how effective the current legislation is proving in practice.
The Commission wants to know about both negative and positive experiences since 2010 in England, Scotland and Wales, including:
- How religion or belief has affected the recent experiences of job applicants, employees or customers
- Whether people who follow a religion or belief are aware of their legal rights and if appropriate information and guidance is available to them
- Views on the effectiveness of current equality and human rights legislation on religion or belief
- The recent experiences of employers when these issues arise in the workplace.
The research is part of a three-year Commission programme to strengthen understanding of religion or belief in public life, improve knowledge about what happens in practice and ensure that the laws that protect everyone’s right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect are effective.
Jo Seery at Thompsons Solicitors commented: “Cases of discrimination on grounds of religion or belief are often seen as being in conflict with other rights. If the call for evidence leads to clarity of the legislation creating a more informed and balanced approach to religion and belief issues in the workplace, and in accordance with the EHRC’s strategy to strengthen understanding of religion or belief in public life, then it will be welcome.”
The deadline for responses to the call for evidence on line is 14 October and people can give their feedback at www.equalityhumanrights.com/religion.