As a Christian can I claim for discrimination in the workplace when I feel I am being treated differently due to my religious beliefs?

Discrimination on grounds of religion

Under the laws of England and Wales it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the following grounds:

  • Religion – this will include any religion

  • Belief – this will cover any religious or philosophical belief

  • Lack of religion

  • Lack of any belief 

The law also makes it unlawful to discriminate on the following grounds:

  • A person’s perceived – as well as actual – religion or belief

  • The religion or belief or someone with whom the person associates

Is religion or belief defined by law?

Neither religion nor belief is defined by law; however, belief is seen to cover such things as atheism and humanism.

Does Christianity fall within the definition of religion?

When thinking about religious discrimination often people do not necessarily think about Christianity as the first thought is often concerning certain religious which do not have as much of a majority in the United Kingdom as Christianity does or religions that require the individuals to dress in a certain way and behave in a certain way which may have a certain affect on the workplace.

However, Christianity is clearly a religion in the eyes of the law and in certain cases individuals who are Christians feel they are being discriminated against in the workplace due to their religion.

The following are recent examples of a Christian individual who has perceived discrimination in the workplace:

  • Issues with wearing a cross in the workplace

  • Issues with sending emails in the workplace with religious connotations

Issues with wearing a cross in the workplace

Recently a Christian nurse who wore a crucifix pendant around her neck while she was working on the ward was told to remove it by her employers due to health and safety reasons.

What were the health and safety reasons?

It was felt that when she was dealing with a patient she would be leaning over them and they may be able to grab it which could cause both her and the patient certain health and safety issues.

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For more information on:

  • Did the employee take the case to an employment tribunal?
  • What was the decision of the employment tribunal?
  • Have there been any further developments in the case?
  • Why is it imperative that their arms be bare?
  • How are sleeves now able to be worn?
  • Emails in the workplace with religious connotations
  • What can we draw from this case?