Department of Trade & Industry
One-Day London Training Workshop
An in-depth programme of lectures and case study work is planned for Saturday 20 March 2004 in London. The aim of this workshop is to provide shariah advisors and counsellors, imams, community workers, Muslim lawyers and other Muslim community advice providers with a detailed explanation of the new law. The event will also provide an opportunity to discuss case studies and likely workplace scenarios facing Muslims with recognised legal experts. There is no charge for attendance.
An outcome of the training will be the establishment of regional panels of suitably qualified individuals in Shariah and British law to respond to local enquiries on the Regulations. Queries received at the MCB office will also be directed to these panels for appropriate responses based on local conditions and knowledge.
The training session are free to community advice providers.
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WHAT THE REGULATIONS SAY�in summary
The Regulations apply to employment � including recruitment, terms and conditions, promotions, transfers, dismissals and training.
The Regulations define religion or belief as being any religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief. This does not include any philosophical or political belief unless it is similar to religious belief. It will be for the employment tribunals and other courts to decide whether particular circumstances are covered by the Regulations.
The Regulations make it unlawful on the grounds of religion or belief to: discriminate directly against anyone. That is, to treat them less favourably than others because of their religion or belief discriminate indirectly against anyone. That is, to apply a criterion, provision or practice which disadvantages people of a particular religion or belief without a good reason discriminate against someone in some circumstances after the working relationship has ended Exceptions may be made here in limited circumstances if there is a genuine occupational requirement for the worker to be of a particular religion or belief in order to do the job.
The Regulations also make it unlawful on the grounds of religion or belief to: subject someone to harassment. Harassment is unwanted conduct that violates a person�s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them victimise someone because they have made a complaint or allegation or have given evidence against someone else in relation to a complaint of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief There is no defence in the Regulations for harassment or victimisation.
The Regulations also encourage, but do not oblige, employers to take positive action where there is evidence of inequality of treatment of a religious group.
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ISSUES FOR EMPLOYERS�in summary
The DTI suggests that employers consider in particular the following: Mainstreaming of religious equality in all policies and processes Ensuring awareness of the new legislation among staff and managers In recruiting � advertising, timing of interviews, suitable questions In managing staff � handling requests for leave, religious observance, harassment and grievances, confidentiality issues
Critical to understanding the new legislation is the concept of reasonable accommodation. This means that an employer must seek to accommodate a religious requirement, if otherwise this would result in discrimination, unless the accommodation would result in disproportionate and unjustifiable loss or hardship to the employer. The onus to be reasonable is, therefore, on both the employer and employee.
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