Employers are not required to accommodate religious worship during working hours if it could significantly damage their business and reasonable alternatives are available to the employee.

The EAT has ruled that it was lawful for an employer to refuse a Muslim security guard permission to leave work to attend Friday prayers at a mosque.

There was an onsite prayer room that the employee could have used, and he could have swapped his shifts to work on a Saturday or Sunday. The detriment to the employee was therefore limited, while the employer would be in danger of financial penalties or even of losing its contract with its client if all guards did not remain on site throughout their shifts. Its refusal was therefore a proportionate means of achieving its business operational needs, and not unlawful indirect discrimination. (Cherfi v G4S Security Services Ltd, EAT)