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Religion or Belief

Do you know your rights?

Did you know that in certain situations, such as at work, the law says that you can’t be treated less favourably, or put at a disadvantage, because of the religious belief, or philosophical belief you hold?  This is because Religion or Belief is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. Religion refers to any religion and includes a lack of religion. Belief refers to any religious or philosophical belief, including a lack of belief. To be included in the definition, the religion or belief that you hold should affect your life choices and/or the way you live your life.

This unfair treatment is called discrimination. There are several types of discrimination, including direct and indirect discrimination.

Direct discrimination is when you are treated less favourably because of your religion or belief.  For instance, refusal to allow observation of a Sabbath or religious holiday or imposing stricter promotion requirements for a person of a certain religion.


Indirect discrimination is when an arrangement that affects everyone has an unfair effect on some people because of their religion or belief. For instance, if a company has their all-staff meeting at a time when you observe prayer.


People can be treated differently because of their religion or belief where there is a good reason to do so, such as if a job in a prison requires a chaplain of a specific faith to serve the prisoners of that faith.


It’s important to know and understand equality law, but it can be complex.

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