NEWS: Religion and Workplace Discrimination

The European Commission has demanded that the British government amends its legislation relating to discrimination in the workplace. Although discrimination in the workplace was outlawed within the European Union in 2000, Britain did not enshrine this in law until 2003. Furthermore, the British government believed they could apply certain exemptions to the implementation of the legislation. As part of this, religious faiths were able ‘to refuse to employ homosexual staff,’ on the grounds that such employment would conflict with the church’s fundamental beliefs. At the time, various opposition groups accused the government of caving into pressure from religious groups, and indeed, perpetuating discrimination.

However, the European Commission has now ruled that such opt-outs are excessive and unacceptable. A move greeted by campaigners and the National Secular Society as a triumph for human rights. As Keith Porteous-Wood points out, at present legislation means that ‘if a significant number of followers of an organised religion didn’t like it, there was no protection for a gay employee.’

Read More:

$1.99 - small ‘Fundamentalisms’ Compared
By Henry Munson
(Vol. 3, June 2008)
Religion Compass

Eating Together: Friendship and Homosexuality
By Joel James Shuman
The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics

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