There are many types of discrimination at work. Unfortunately, people can face discrimination for a whole range of different protected characteristics. Sometimes this discrimination is obvious, but other times it can be hard to identify. Employees can often find it hard to spot the signs of discrimination and underplay their mistreatment not to cause any upset. 

In this article, we are going to discuss the signs of religious discrimination at work. Religion and belief are a protected characteristic according to the 2010 Equality Act. This means that the law protects you against discrimination of any kind on the grounds of your religion or beliefs. 

Suppose you recognise any of the signs we discuss below. In that case, you may be experiencing religious discrimination and raise it with your employer or HR department. 

Signs of religious discrimination 

  1. Direct mistreatment 

The first and most direct form of religious discrimination is if you feel you are being treated unfairly or negatively. You feel you are facing some kind of harassment on the grounds of your religious beliefs. This can be most common when you are in the minority in your workplace. For example, if you openly express your religious beliefs, and you know that others that you work with don’t share the same beliefs. And you are regularly teased, bullied or harassed because of those beliefs; you are facing religious discrimination. 

Mistreatment can also sometimes be very subtle and may manifest in you not getting promotions or not being awarded certain privileges that others are. Speaking to your colleagues can be an excellent way to highlight any unfair treatment. If you need some inspiration (or information) on how to handle mistreatment, the resources at Aspiring to Include will equip you with all that you need to know. 

  • Dress code policy 

One of the most common indirect forms of religious discrimination is imposing a dress code policy that restricts religious people from wearing clothes that are in line with their religious beliefs. For example, if your employer imposes a strict no headwear policy, Muslim women would be prohibited from wearing a hijab at work, which is discriminatory. While employers are allowed to have clothing guidelines, they are not allowed to put a policy that will negatively affect how a religious person can express themselves.  

  • Restrictions to work schedules  

Finally, by law, employers are not allowed to restrict an employee’s working schedule so that they cannot celebrate or adhere to any religious ceremonies or routines. For example, if a workplace allows company time off around Christmas, a Christian holiday, but then does not allow a Jewish person to take time off for Hanukah, they are discriminating against different religions. Furthermore, if an employer puts restrictions on an employee’s time that ensures they work certain hours in the day, which prohibits somebody from being able to pray or worship, they are being discriminatory.