Acas guidance on religion or belief discrimination in the workplace

22 May 2018

Workplace experts Acas have published new guidance on religion and belief to help ensure businesses are following the law when it comes to managing staff that have a particular religion, belief or those that don't hold any beliefs.

The guidance ‘religion or belief discrimination: key points for the workplace’ offers employers essential advice on how to comply with the Equalities Act, which protects employees against discrimination based on religion and belief.

The guidance highlights recruitment as a key area where employers should take care to ensure they avoid discrimination, especially related to:

  • Job adverts. They should be publicised widely and it is almost always better if employers don't mention religion in the posting 

  • Training and development opportunities that help employees gain promotions should be organised so employees don't miss out due to religious observance

  • Opportunities for promotions. It would be discriminatory for an employer to discourage an employee from taking a promotion because of their religion

The Acas guidance also offers help to ensure that employers:

  • Take a flexible approach to dress codes where possible 

  • Consider requests to use annual leave for religious reasons carefully and sympathetically 

  • Understand that fasting can impact on performance so employers should try to be understanding in line with business needs