On the 4th day of Christmas Your HR Lawyer gave to me- Some guidance on religious belief

christmas, social events

Christmas is, as we know, a Christian festival but it should not exclude people with differing religious beliefs.

Having respect for your employee’s different religious beliefs or non-beliefs can build a motivated, respectful and diverse workforce, which, in turn, means a productive workforce.

Things to be aware of;

Christmas party – make sure whatever food or drink you might provide, caters for those who don’t drink alcohol or eat certain foods.

If you close down at Christmas and require your employees to take annual leave (see 2nd Day of Christmas) be mindful that some employees may need annual leave at a different time of year to observe their religious festival.

Be aware of harassment and victimisation because of a person’s religious belief or non-belief. This can be in the form of name-calling, exclusion from Christmas related activities and social events or not providing an alternative drink or food option at a Christmas party. It is unlawful to harass someone because of their religious belief.

Time off – if an employee demands time off because they are a Christian you should consider it but you do not have to grant it. However, be mindful of the possibility that they could claim discrimination because of their religious belief. You should have a justifiable reason for declining their request. Acas say “employers should be sympathetic to such requests where it is reasonable and practical for the employee to be away from work and they have sufficient holiday entitlement in hand”

Make this a time of year for inclusion, joy and peace.

HR issues getting in the way of your festive mood? Call us, 0115 870 0150, or email nickie@yourhrlawyer.co.uk, we can help!

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