Religion discrimination occurs when people treated differently as a result of their religion or belief.Even in democracies where religious freedom is a constitutional right, adherents of minority religions occasionally express concerns about religious discrimination.Prejudice towards Muslims in the workplace and in the labour market has risen in recent years, and it is subject to volatility based on global events.There are two types of religion discrimination at workplaces i.e., Direct and Indirect.
Direct religious discrimination
When any organization and companytreat some people less favourably than other employees because of their faith, this is known as direct religious discrimination. Here are a few examples:
- Not selecting candidates for a job because of their religious beliefs.
- Not giving proper training to the employer due to their religious beliefs.
- Firing the candidates because of their religious beliefs.
Indirect religious discrimination
When a company sets standards that apply to everyone yet unfairly penalises employees who practise specific religions or hold certain views, this is known as indirect religious discrimination. Following are few examples:
- Having a dress rule that prohibits persons who dress in religious garb as part of their beliefs.
- Setting work schedules in an unfair manner that prevents employees from having time off for religious observance.
- Wearing certain religious objects, such as the Sikh men's symbolic bracelet, is unfairly prohibited.
Wearing certain religious objects, such as the Sikh men's symbolic bracelet, is unfairly prohibited.
- Between 2012 and 2018, persons who identified as Muslim had the lowest employment rate of all religious groups in England and Wales, reflecting greater rates of economic inactivity within this group.
- In 2018, those who identified as Jewish earned the highest median hourly pay, partly due to a higher likelihood of being employed in high-skilled occupations and as managers, though controlling for differences in their personal and employment characteristics significantly reduced the difference in their average (median) pay compared to those who identified as Christian.
- In UK, religious discrimination has been existed, with Muslim or ethnically sounding names receiving less interviews and consideration from possible jobs. In fact, in job interviews, one out of every eight Pakistani women is asked about marriage and family plans, whereas just one out of every thirty white women is asked the same question.
Many Americans believe that religious discrimination exists in the United States, particularly towards Muslims.Hospitals, insurance companies, pharmacies, and other health-care providers are discriminating against women across the country by rejecting fundamental care – such as birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion – in the name of religion.
- Employers prefer applicants who do not state their religious affiliation, according to a new survey, but if forced to choose, they favour Jews over Muslims or atheists.
- Employers discriminated against Muslims, pagans, and atheists the most, while a fake religious organisation and Catholics saw moderate degrees of discrimination, and evangelical Christians saw little discrimination.
- When it comes to job applications (33 % of Muslims, 5% of Jews, and 8% of other religion groups), interactions with law enforcement (31 % of Muslims, 2% of Jews, and 8% of others), and even accessing health care, American Muslims face higher levels of prejudice (25 % of Muslims, 5 % of Jews and others).
- Indirect religious discrimination: A blanket "no beards" policy discriminated against Sikh job applicants in an indirect manner.
The right to hold religious or other views is protected under the European Convention on Human Rights.If the law permits, this includes the right to express their religion or believe in worship, teaching, practice, and observance.Wearing a crucifix is an illustration of this.The
- The European Union's top court issued a judgement that allows employers to discriminate against persons who wear religious garb. This has a negative impact on religious freedom, particularly for Muslim women.
- Muslims continue to face discrimination in housing and employment in Europe.
In 2019, Australia has introduced a new Religious Discrimination bill to protect the people against discrimination on the basis of their religion. However, this bill is vital to protect the Australia’s religiously diverse population. Apart from Christians, who account for over half of the population, Australia is home to various religious minorities such as Muslims (2.6 %), Hindus (1.9%), and Sikhs (0.5%).A Religious Discrimination Act would also safeguard Australia's rising population of non-religious citizens (30% ).
Moreover, Australian Constitution forbids the Commonwealth from enacting legislation that creates, forces, or condemns any religion.It also prohibits the Commonwealth from utilising religion as a criterion or test for public office.
- 70% of religious people believe they are discriminated against "on occasion or on a regular basis."
Minority-related violent conflicts afflict several Asian countries.Religion is a prevalent aspect of such conflicts, as recent events in Gujarat, India, have demonstrated.Religious minorities' rights are frequently denied throughout Asia in a half-hidden and subtle manner.It results in in less education and employment opportunities which led to the perpetuation of poverty.Muslims become Hindus to get work in India.Many people are forced to assume false identities as a result of religious prejudice in the Hindu-dominated job market.
- In the last five years, 16 accusations of religious discrimination have been filed in Singapore by job seekers.
- At work, religious minorities face discrimination in Pakistan.
- In India, covid became an excuse for evicting Indian Muslims from jobs/occupations.
Several countries in Africa have anti-discrimination laws which prohibit religious discrimination. Religious discrimination is illegal in South African workplaces, according to the country's constitution.No one may unfairly discriminate against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, color, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language, or birth, according to Section 9(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996 (RSA 1996).
- Employee satisfaction, retention, and decision-making are all improved by religious diversity
- Religious diversity makes the workplace better and productive for both employees and employers.
- Tolerance, higher understanding, and improved communication are all benefits of a diverse workforce.
- The more employees who profit from inclusive policies, the more likely it is that customers will benefit as well.
- The decision-making process is always more robust and accurate when multiple perspectives are considered.
Actions for Government
- Shall not pass such policies and legislative laws that promote religious discrimination at workplaces.
- Should reward those organizations where there is no discrimination at workplaces in terms of age, race, disability etc.
- Should take necessary actions to reduce the religious discrimination.
- Should create guidelines for the employers and organizations to follow.
- Should make sure if all the organizations are following discrimination laws or policies.
- Should start with campaigns to create awareness of equality in terms of race, ethnicity, religion among the people.
Recommendations for Employers
- Consider creating a calendar of religious holidays to foster religious diversity at work. This can assist workers appreciate the significance of religious festivals to colleagues of different faiths, as well as any job-related considerations.
- Ascertain that all employees are aware of their personal obligation to treat their coworkers with respect.
- Give instances of the standards of behavior expected of all people, how bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on religion or philosophical beliefs look, and the repercussions of breaching the behavior norms.
- Make a strong commitment to religion diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
- Ensure that all policies and declarations on equality are freely available to all people and include references to religion and belief.