Since 2010, the Equality Act has legally protected certain characteristics from discrimination, including sexual orientation, gender identity and religion or belief. But how does this work in practice? Has your own or somebody else’s religion or belief proved a barrier to you as an LGB&T person at work, or when using everyday services? Have you experienced the positive effects of being LGB&T and having a religion or belief, or received positive treatment from a religion or belief based organisation? Share your views and contribute to the debate!
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has today launched a major call for evidence from individuals and organisations about how their religion or belief, or that of other people, may have affected their experiences in the workplace and in using the services and facilities they need in everyday life.
You can give your feedback at www.equalityhumanrights.com/religion.
The Commission is an independent body responsible for protecting and promoting equality and human rights in Britain. It wants to gather as much information as possible from members of the public, employers, providers of services, legal advisors and religion or belief organisations. This will be used to assess how employers and service providers are taking religion or belief into account and the impact this has on individuals.
The work covers all faiths and beliefs and experiences in England, Scotland and Wales. We want to hear about the issues people face and how they find solutions. The Commission will also use the evidence as part of its work looking at how effective the current legislation is proving in practice.
Despite a number of high profile legal cases involving the manifestation of religion or belief, very little is known about how frequently these issues occur in practice.
This research is part of a three-year Commission programme to strengthen understanding of religion or belief in public life, improve knowledge about what happens in practice and ensure that the laws that protect everyone’s right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect are effective.
The call for evidence will remain open for responses for two months, until mid-October. The Commission wants to know about both negative and positive experiences since 2010, including:
How religion or belief has affected the recent experiences of job applicants, employees or customers
Whether people who hold a religion or belief are aware of their legal rights and if appropriate information and guidance is available to them
Views on the effectiveness of current equality and human rights legislation on religion or belief
The recent experiences of employers when these issues arise in the workplace
The recent experience of organisations providing services to the public when issues around religion or belief are raised.
Mark Hammond, Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:
“Everyone has the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect, that includes respect for people’s faith or beliefs, and respect for the rights of others.We are well aware of the complexity in dealing with such issues. Undertaking this major piece of work will help to build our understanding about how well the law is working so we can fully examine the adequacy of the current legal framework for religion or belief.”
It’s vital that as many people as possible join the discussion, so The LGF is encouraging LGB&T people to share their views at www.equalityhumanrights.com/religion.