The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held in Saini v All Saints Haque Centre that it is unlawful for an employee to be harassed because of another person's religious beliefs.
This case makes it clear that harassment under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 does not require the unwanted conduct to be on the grounds of the employee’s own religious beliefs. It will also be unlawful to harass an employee because of someone else's religion or belief (for example a friend, colleague, relative, customer or client). Employers should ensure that equal opportunities and harassment policies make clear to all employees that to harass colleagues on the grounds of another's religion or belief will not be tolerated and could lead to disciplinary action.
In the case of Saini v All Saints Haque Centre & others, Mr Saini and Mr Chandel were Hindus who worked at the All Saints Haque Centre which provided immigration advice in the All Saints area of Wolverhampton.
The centre was effectively under the managerial control of a group of employees who were adherents to the Ravidass faith (who have distinctive religious beliefs that distinguish them from both the Sikh and Hindu communities). This group bullied and intimated Mr Saini in an attempt to find enough information to dismiss Mr Chandel. It was found as a fact by the employment tribunal that the centre only wanted to dismiss Mr Chandel because he was a Hindu (and the Respondents were effectively implementing an anti-Hindu policy).
The Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the tribunal were wrong to dismiss Mr Saini's claim of religious discrimination and that Mr Saini could claim that he had been harassed on the grounds of Mr Chandel's religion.
Furthermore, the EAT stated that when considering whether an employer is harassing an employee in pursuance of a discriminatory policy such claims are not limited to those situations where an employer instructs the employee to act in a discriminatory way but can extend to any conduct which is in pursuance of a discriminatory policy.