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Cover Employment Law

15. Religious discrimination  

This chapter deals with religious discrimination law under the Equality Act. It discusses the historical background of religious discrimination law, protected characteristics, prohibited conduct on grounds of religious discrimination,. Religion and belief is not specifically defined in the statute, and is left for the courts to define. Atheists are protected, but beliefs which ‘conflict with the fundamental rights of others’ are not. Dress codes are one of the most contested topics in this area of law. There are also specific exceptions for religious employers. The chapter also considers the conflict and competing interests between religious discrimination and other protected characteristics, such as sexual orientation and gender reassignment.


Cover Employment Law in Context

11. The Protected Characteristics  

This chapter analyses the ‘protected characteristics’ in the Equality Act 2010. These include sex, gender re-assignment, pregnancy, and maternity discrimination; race discrimination; religion or belief discrimination; sexual orientation, marriage, and civil partnership discrimination; and age discrimination. It examines these protected characteristics in detail, including some of the ‘boundary disputes’ which arise in the case of some of them. It then explores the genuine occupational requirements exception; the mechanics of the reversed burden of proof in discrimination cases; and the law of vicarious liability in the context of discrimination. Finally, the chapter sets out the various remedies available where a claimant is successful in his/her discrimination complaint before an employment tribunal.