We frequently receive enquiries from employees who have been subject to religion or belief discrimination. We would always advise any person who is subjected to those types of behaviours by their employer to take independent legal advice. Of course, we hope they would contact us at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors. However, if you are considering raising your own complaint or representing yourself at the Employment Tribunal, we set out below some general guidance.
What does Religion or Belief Discrimination include?
The Equality Act 2010 states that religion or belief includes any religion and any religious or philosophical belief.
Who is protected from Religion or Belief Discrimination?
In the employment sphere employees, workers, job applicants, trainees, Company Directors etc are protected from religion or belief discrimination or harassment by their employer. All aspects of the relationship are covered. For example, an employee who is discriminated against in the recruitment process would be able to bring a claim against their prospective employer even if they never worked a day for that business.
How do you know if you have suffered Religion or Belief Discrimination?
The Equality Act 2010 sets out various ways in which an employer’s treatment of a person because of their religion or belief (or perceptions about their religion or belief) is unlawful. Briefly, it is likely you have suffered religion or belief discrimination or harassment if any of the following have occurred:
This is where you have been treated less favourably because of your religion or belief than someone of a different religion or belief would have been treated.
This is where the employer has a policy, procedure or similar which appears to apply to everyone but has a detrimental impact upon people with of a particular religion or belief.
This is where a person suffers unwanted conduct which causes a distressing, humiliating or offensive environment for them. For example, jokes and derogatory comments by colleagues related to religion or belief.
This is where an employee raises a complaint themselves or supports another doing so and suffers a “detriment” as a consequence. A detriment could be a reduction in hours, a refusal to give a pay rise, a lost promotion opportunity, indeed anything which has a negative impact on that person’s work or employment.
If you believe you are suffering Religion or Belief Discrimination or Harassment what action should you take?
The Employment Tribunal will expect you to raise your concerns with your employer. This will usually be done through your employer’s grievance procedure. Please see the information available on this website about how to raise a grievance. Any evidence you can gather to assist in your grievance will be extremely helpful. If the matter can be resolved at that stage, then all to the good.
If your employer continues to discriminate against you because of your religion or belief, or the harassment has not been properly dealt with, you may have to consider submitting a claim to the Employment Tribunal. In order to do so, you will first need to begin a process called ACAS Early Conciliation. This is a compulsory procedure where an ACAS conciliator acts as a go between to try and resolve the dispute.
What are the Time Limits for Religion or Belief Discrimination claims?
You will need to begin the ACAS Early Conciliation process within three months less one day from the last act of discrimination. The time limit for submitting your Employment Tribunal claim will depend upon the dates of your ACAS Early Conciliation. However, it is important that you begin the ACAS Early Conciliation process within the three-month deadline as to fail to do so may render your claim out of time.
Let Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Help You
If you believe you are suffering religion or belief discrimination or harassment at work, please ring for a free, no obligation, telephone consultation on 01522 440512 or use the contact information on this website.