Religion or belief discrimination

Topic Index
Unlawful discrimination
Occupational requirement



  • The applicable law is contained in the Equality Act 2010 under which religion or belief is a 'protected characteristic'.
  • Religion or belief is defined as 'any religion, religious belief or similar philosophical beliefs'.
  • The definition is very broad in scope and does not stipulate that a particular religion must have any minimum number of followers to qualify. Factors which be taken into account include collective worship, a clear belief system and a profound belief affecting the way of live or view of the world.
  • To qualify as a 'philosophical belief', the belief must satisfy certain conditions, among them that the belief is genuinely held, relates to weighty and substantial aspects of human behaviour and is worthy of respect in a democratic society.
  • Strong environmental convictions and a fervent opposition to fox hunting have both been held to qualify as a 'philosophical belief' capable of legal protection.
  • Individuals are protected on the grounds of their 'non-belief'.
  • See the Policies and Documents section for a specimen religion and beliefs policy (subscribers only)....
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