High profile cases relating to the religious discrimination of Christian workers are heading towards the European Court of Human Rights. The cases relate to i) the wearing of a cross on a necklace while at work, ii) the insistence that a Christian employee officiate at civil partnerships notwithstanding her wishing not to do so on religious grounds, and iii) the dismissal of a Christian relationship counsellor for refusing, on religious grounds, to provide help and counselling to same-sex couples.
What should employers do?
Rulings already made by the UK and European courts in relation to religious discrimination of Christians have created a body of contradictory and confusing case law. The Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) submits a report in reference to these cases this month, but until the law in this area is clarified there is little that employers can do other than ‘play safe’ and seek legal advice before making decisions that may upset staff with religious beliefs.