Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Faith in the Workplace - Equality and Human Rights Commission Survey

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has an open consulation on religion and belief in the workplace:

Has your religion or belief, or that of other people, affected your experiences in the workplace or the services you receive as part of your daily life? Or perhaps they impact on you as an employer or manager?  If so, we want to hear from you, whether your experiences are good or bad.
We want to gather as much information as we can from employees, service users, employers, service providers, trade unions, legal advisors and religion or belief groups so that we can assess how a person’s religion or belief, or lack of it, is taken into account at work and when using services.
This major call for evidence is part of our three year programme to strengthen understanding of religion or belief in public life, to improve knowledge of what happens in practice and to make sure that the laws which are in place to protect everyone’s right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect are effective.
It runs until 31st October, and the evidence given will shape how the EHRC addresses issue of faith and human rights in the future, and assessment of how the current human rights framework works. (Not sure if that includes recent Conservative policy announcements!) The consultation includes questions about whether more or less legal protection should be given to people who hold religious beliefs. That could be a bit of a blunt instrument: I'd be keener to see more power for Christians to opt out of Sunday working in non-essential services than for Muslim nurses to wear a burka at work.

The consultation relates both to employees, and people receiving services. This is an opportunity to inform the way faith is taken into account in the public sphere and policy making, so please consider taking part.


  1. Genuine question, David: why would you object to a Muslim nurse wearing a burka?

  2. Thanks Gerry - I think if you're in the caring professions, or in anything that requires face to face communication, that being able to see the eyes and face is important. Part of health and healing is the ability to build up trust with the people treating you, and a burka cuts out both facial expression and body language, so it inhibits this process.