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New employment regulations

Last updated: 2003-11-24

The Board of Deputies welcomes the new Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations which will come into effect from 2 December 2003. The new regulations will make it unlawful on the grounds of religion or belief to:

·       refuse to offer employment or dismiss employees,
·       refuse to offer training or deny promotion to employees, or
·       harass or victimise employees.

Nor may employers have the right to impose unjustifiable selection criteria, policies or rules that effectively disadvantage people of a particular religion or belief.

There are two exceptional situations where an employer may choose to offer or refuse employment to a person of a particular religion:

·       where being of a particular religion or belief is a genuine and determining occupational requirement for the job and it is proportionate to apply that requirement in the particular case; or

·       where the organisation has a religious ethos. There has to be a genuine occupational requirement for the job and it must be proportionate to apply that requirement in the particular case.

Board Vice President Eleanor Lind QC commented: "The regulations are an added weapon in the armoury for fighting discrimination against Jews in the workplace."

Information in this complex area can be found in a number of publications These include the Board of Deputies "Employing Jewish People" booklets for employees and employers, details available at www.bod.org.uk <http://www.bod.org.uk>; and ACAS Guidance available at www.acas.org.uk <http://www.acas.org.uk>.