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The Law

The Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations came into force in December 2003 (at the same time as similar provisions covering sexual orientation; regulations against discrimination on grounds of age followed in 2006). These Regulations make it unlawful for employers to discriminate on the grounds of religion & belief.

The Government was required to legislate on these strands to meet the requirements of the EC Framework Directive 2000/78.

According to the Employment Tribunal service claims of discrimination on the grounds of religion & belief have increased continually since 2003: with an increase of over 50% in 2005/6 compared with the previous year; and a further 33% increase in 2006/7.

There were 648 claims in 2006/7, just under 2% of all discrimination claims - by way of comparison, there were 978 age discrimination claims in the six months following the introduction of the Age Regulations. But overall these volumes pall when set alongside complaints of unfair dismissal and discrimination on grounds of sex or race, which continue to dominate, together with the rapidly growing number of Equal Pay claims.

This section contains a summary of legislation covering discrimination on grounds of religion & belief, a summary of key cases, and frequently asked questions.