The EAT has held in Chondol v Liverpool City Council that dismissing an employee for inappropriately promoting his or her religious beliefs to clients is not the same as dismissal on the grounds of the employee's religion or belief and as such does not amount to religious discrimination.
However, it is not easy for employers to draw the line. Somerset NHS Trust recently came under fire for suspending an employee who offered to pray for a patient's recovery. The nurse has since been asked to return to work.
The increase in religious discrimination cases has prompted the Chartered Management Institute to issue guidelines advising companies that existing policies should be reviewed to ensure that they do not discriminate against staff on the grounds of religion.