1 Welcome to Module 3 of the NCC Equality & Diversity Programme Religion and Belief PowerPoint Presentation
2 Welcome to the third briefing in the ‘Challenging Inequality’ programme. This briefing has been especially written for everyone working for Nottinghamshire County Council. The first two briefings covered age and race equality. In this briefing we are going to look at : Religion and Belief
3 By the end of this briefing you will: Understand how the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 affect you. Be able to describe the key equality and diversity issues that surround religion or belief. Recognise how a better understanding of religious beliefs can help us to deliver better services to all of our customers.
4 After completing this briefing and listening to the ‘Talking Heads’ audio you will have the opportunity to discuss this topic further with your line manager and colleagues.
5 Why this briefing is important? There are many different religions and beliefs. What they have in common is their importance to their followers and their influence on how we live our lives. Our beliefs shape our sense of who we are, where we come from and our relationships with each other. They influence what we do and what we think about the world. They help us understand and provide support at times of joy and sorrow, life and death. It is no wonder why we all feel so strongly about matters of belief.
6 There is also a lot of variation as to how people observe their religion or beliefs. It may influence how they dress or what they eat. They may follow their faith privately or as part of community and attending formal places of worship. There may be certain rituals to be observed at particular times and important dates for special ceremonies. Not only do these vary from one faith to another, there are many variations within each of the major religions too.
7 While all this can look and sound very different and makes us appear different from other people – often, our reasons for following a particular religion or holding a particular set of beliefs are, in many ways, common to us all. So, to ensure that we are delivering excellent customer service and service provision, we ALL need an awareness of and respect for other faiths. The aim of this briefing is to raise your awareness about religion and belief and how this affects us all at work.
8 This briefing is made up of four parts: 1.What do we mean by religion and belief? 2.The law 3.What are the common religions? 4.What does this mean for us at work?
9 Part One What do we mean by Religion and Belief?
10 What do we mean by religion or belief? This briefing is based on the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003. What kinds of belief do you think the Regulations cover?
11 What do we mean by religion or belief? The Regulations cover “…any religion, religious belief, or ‘similar belief’. Similar belief includes such beliefs as paganism, atheism, humanism and pacifism. This is a broad definition, so what beliefs are covered by the Regulations are determined by cases brought to tribunals.
12 What beliefs are covered by the Regulations? Patriotic BeliefsPolitical BeliefsPeople without religious beliefs
13 Patriotic Beliefs An American working at Victoria Station was sacked for sewing the American flag to his reflective vest. This was in breach of health and safety regulations. He claimed unfair dismissal on the grounds that he had a right to his patriotic belief. An Employment Tribunal ruled that the dismissal was legal, as his loyalty to his country is not a “belief” within the meaning of the Regulations. Williams v South Central Limited (2004) What beliefs are covered by the Regulations?
14 Political Beliefs Issues that tribunals take into account include collective worship, clear belief system and a profound belief affecting your view of the world. Recent changes in the law have widened the scope of the Regulations to include political beliefs in the future. What beliefs are covered by the Regulations?
15 People without religious beliefs The Regulations provide protection to people without religious or similar belief, and therefore it is not legal to treat someone less favourably because they do not have a religious or similar belief. What beliefs are covered by the Regulations?
17 In previous modules you learnt about the law and: -Direct discrimination -Indirect discrimination -Harassment Let’s have a look at discrimination first of all.
18 Can you think of an example of ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ discrimination? Indirect Discrimination? Direct Discrimination ?
19 Direct Discriminatio n Being refused a job because you are a Hindu even though you have all the necessary skills. Can you think of an example of ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ discrimination?
20 Indirect Discrimination Having a dress code that does not allow men to wear ponytails or headwear. This policy would disadvantage Sikh workers who wear turbans for religious reasons and Hindu men who wear a small knot of hair at the back of the head as a symbol of their belief. Can you think of an example of ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ discrimination?
21 However – indirect discrimination will not be unlawful if it can be justified. To justify it, an employer must show that there is a real business need and that the practice is proportionate and there is no alternative means available. For example, where, for safety or hygiene reasons certain protective headgear or hair coverings are needed to perform the job.
22 Something to think about! It is as unlawful to discriminate against a person for NOT holding a specific religion or belief as it is to discriminate against someone for actually holding to or subscribing to a particular religion or belief.
23 A member of staff, devout in her belief, continually refers to her colleagues as “heathens” and warns them of the consequences they may suffer as a result of their lack of belief. Distressed by her intimidating behaviour, her colleagues complain to their manager that they are being harassed. Is this harassment? What do you think?
24 The harassment is unlawful. It is directed at work colleagues because they have different beliefs or no beliefs.
25 How about Mr ‘A’ who is continually teased about his partner’s religious convictions. He finds being subjected to such teasing offensive and distressing and complains to his manager. His manager tells him not to be silly, that the teasing is only harmless workplace banter and is nothing to do with the organisation. Is this harassment? What do you think?
26 This is harassment even though it is not the victim’s own religion or belief that is the subject of the teasing. Mr ‘A’ is able to complain through Employment Tribunal. His colleagues may have to pay compensation. The organisation may also have to pay compensation because it has a liability for the actions of its staff.
27 Why is it important for us to understand the law? It will : –help us to accept and show respect for other faiths. –help everyone to have an equal opportunity to work and develop their skills. –create a positive working environment in which we all benefit and fulfil our potential. –Support flexibility to enable team members to observe religious festivals. –Eliminate discrimination in the workplace.
29 So, let’s find out more about the many different religions and beliefs that exist. Clearly, religious writings and teachings are too vast to cover in detail here – so, in this guide we aim to highlight some key points. Let’s find out more…
30 There are lots of different religions. How many can you identify in one minute? Start your time now….. Go to the next slide to see how many we identified How did you do?
31 Buddhism Judaism (Jews)) Christianity Hinduism Islam (Muslims) Sikhism Click on the next few slides to find out more
32 Christianity Christians believe that there is one God, the creator and sustainer of everything, whose nature has been shown most clearly through the life of Jesus Christ. Churches Together in Nottinghamshire, provides an umbrella network for Christian groups. Website: www.churchestogethernottinghamshire.org.ukwww.churchestogethernottinghamshire.org.uk
33 Buddhism Buddhists believe that there is no permanent, immortal soul. We are collections of ever-changing elements like feeling and perceptions. After death, these elements are reborn into a new life, according to the good and bad deeds of past lives. Nottingham Buddhist Centre, 9 St. Mary’s Place, The Lace Market, Nottingham, NG1 1PH, Tel: 0115 956 1008. Website: www.nottinghambuddhistcentre.orgwww.nottinghambuddhistcentre.org
34 Hindu Hindus believe that Atman is the spirit present in all life, the energy that activates the body. It is eternal: after death it is reborn as another creature. Due to karma, the universal principle of actions and their consequences, past actions determine the nature of new life. There is one Hindhu temple in Greater Nottingham. For more information contact: Hindu Temple, 215 Carlton Road, Nottingham, NG3 2FX, Telephone: 0115 9113384, Web site: www.hindutemple.org.ukwww.hindutemple.org.uk
35 Islam Muslims believe in one God, called Allah. He is merciful and powerful, the creator and sustainer of the universe, and has prescribed Islam as the correct way of life for people. There are 12 mosques and masjids (Muslim place of worship) in Greater Nottingham, mostly in the NG7 area. For more information contact: Islamic Centre, 3 Curzon Street, Nottingham, NG3 1DG, Telephone: 0115 9590001.
36 Judaism Jews believe that there is only one God, who created the world and extended justice, compassion and love to all people. His ways can be known and He is close to his people, but He is awe-inspiring and beyond understanding. There are 2 synagogues (Jewish place of worship) in Greater Nottingham. For more information contact: –Orthodox Synagogue, Shakespeare Villas, Shakespeare St., Nottingham, NG1 4FQ, Telephone: 0115 9476663. –Progressive Synagogue, Lloyds St., Sherwood, Nottingham, NG5 4BT, Telephone: 0115 962 4761.
37 Sikhism Sikhs believe in one God, who can be experienced but is beyond human understanding and never takes human form. There are many names for God – The most common in worship is Waheguru (“wonderful lord”). There are six gurdwaras (Sikh place of worship) in Greater Nottingham, mostly in the NG7 area. For more information contact: The Sikh Temple (Gurdwara), 26 Nottingham Road, Nottingham, NG7 7EA, Tel: 0115 962 2132.
38 Baha’i Ancient Religions e.g. Druidry, Paganism & Wicca Jainism Brahma Kumaris Zoroastrians (Parsi) Other religions Rasta- farianism Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Keen to know more? Click on the next slide for some useful website links
40 Other religions – Useful website links Nottingham Inter Faith Council: www.interfaithnottm.org.uk Multifaith Centre: www.multifaithnet.org
41 There are many religious festivals - far too many for one slide! Which ones do YOU know about that are happening in the next month? To find out more, visit: www.bbc.co.uk/religion/tools/calendar www.bbc.co.uk/religion/tools/calendar
42 What are the religious beliefs of people in Nottinghamshire? A UK census in 2001 asked people in the Greater Nottingham area to identify their religious belief. What religion did most people state?
43 71.3% of people who responded to the census stated ‘Christian’ Buddhist Hindu Jewish Muslim Sikh Other No religion
44 Part Four What does this mean for us at work?
45 What do the Regulations mean for us at work? As an employer and as a provider of services we want to comply with the law – not because we have to – but because we want to as we believe it is the right thing to do. The following slides will give you a few pointers on what we are expected to do as employees……
46 Attracting The Best People Care needs to be taken that methods of recruitment and selection criteria do not prevent people from applying because of their religion or belief.
47 Attracting The Best People At the interview, questions should be asked to check for the skills and competencies needed for the post. Here are some good practice guidelines.
48 Good Practice Guidelines Any questions not obviously related to the post may be perceived as providing a basis for discrimination. So, just as we should not ask or be asked irrelevant questions relating to marital status, or child care arrangements, there should be no irrelevant questions about religion or belief such as ones about place or frequency of worship, communal involvement, or religious ethos of educational establishments attended.
49 Retaining Good People Opportunities for promotion and training should be made known to all staff and be available to everyone on a fair and equal basis. Whilst organisations should be sensitive to the needs of their staff, staff also have a responsibility to ensure they raise awareness of their individual needs.
50 Retaining Good People Training is an excellent way to enhance performance and retain good people To avoid disadvantaging someone because of their religion when training, what adjustments do we consider? Click on the picture to find out more
51 Retaining Good People Training is an excellent way to enhance performance and retain good people To avoid disadvantaging someone because of their religion when training, what do you need to consider? Click on the picture to find out more As an organisation we try to: Cater for special dietary requirements, for example kosher, halal and vegetarian food – remember to update your profile on LDS so we are aware of your needs Avoid ice breakers and training activities that use language or physical contact that might be inappropriate for some beliefs Avoid exercises that require the exchange of very personal information Make sure that related social activities do not exclude people by choice of venue Avoid significant religious festivals such as Ramadan wherever possible
52 Retaining Good People Employees should understand that if they harass their colleagues, they could be personally liable and may have to pay compensation in addition to anything that the organisation may have to pay. Raising awareness and understanding of different religions and beliefs can promote a productive working environment.
53 Religious Observance In The Workplace Many religions or beliefs have special festivals or spiritual observance days Any requests for time off work in order to celebrate festivals or attend ceremonies should be considered sympathetically For more information, see the NCC ‘Guidelines on Religious Leave’.
54 Religious Observance In The Workplace Some religions or beliefs have specific dietary requirements. If employees bring food to the workplace, they may need to store and heat food separately from other food. It is good practice to consult your employees on such issues and find a mutually acceptable solution to any dietary problems.
55 A worker who, for religious reasons, is vegetarian felt unable to store her lunch next to meat sandwiches belonging to a co-worker. Following consultation with the staff a policy was introduced by which all food must be stored in sealed containers and shelves were separately designated ‘meat’ and ‘vegetarian’. This arrangement met the needs of all staff. Religious Observance In The Workplace
56 Religious Observance In The Workplace Some religions require their followers to pray at specific times during the day. Employers are not required to provide a prayer room. However, if a quiet place is available and allowing its use for prayer does not cause problems for other workers or the business, organisations should agree to the request. It is good practice to consult with employees and to consider whether there is anything reasonable and practical which can be done to help employees meet the ritual requirement of their religion.
57 Getting To Know Each Other! It will be beneficial for us all to understand the religious observances of our colleagues to avoid embarrassment or difficulties for those practicing their religious obligations. However, please be sensitive to people’s views about their religion – and don’t make assumptions about their personal beliefs.
58 Where can I go for more information? Nottingham Interfaith Council: www.interfaithnottm.org.ukwww.interfaithnottm.org.uk Local group seeking to share knowledge and promote understanding of the beliefs and practices of different faiths and the importance of spiritual aspects of life Multifaith Centre: http://www.multifaithnet.orghttp://www.multifaithnet.org A self-access research, learning, information and dialogue tool, providing updated access to global electronic resources and interactions useful for study of world religious traditions and communities and the practice of inter-faith dialogue ACAS: http://www.acas.org.ukhttp://www.acas.org.uk An independent publicly funded organisation – their aim is to improve working life through better employment relations
59 Remember our policies and procedures can only go so far – it is our behaviours and attitudes to other people that make the real difference.
60 So, a few questions to think about… Do we, at NCC, value each person as an individual? Do we accept and respect each person’s religion or belief? Do we really understand (and utilise) the benefits that a diverse and inclusive workplace brings to our organisation? Is there more that NCC needs to do? What more can you do?
61 Next Steps… Listen to the ‘Talking Heads’ audio ‘Multiple Breaks’ Then, reflect on what we have covered so far: What ‘religion & belief’ related issues do you experience: –within your team/service? –with your service-users? Discuss your thoughts with your line Manager. (Your line manager will lead this discussion during team meetings or 1-2-1’s)
62 One Final Question…. In your opinion, at this time, are individuals within the authority experiencing discrimination due to their religion or belief? A) Yes B) No C) Not sure
63 Thank You. You have now completed this briefing note.