Furthermore, when it comes to staff requesting time off for holy days, Acas explains the matter is best addressed when a candidate is first offered a position within the workforce.
“Job applicants should take into account that a business operating seven days a week will need at least some staff working on a holy day,” the Acas website says. “A successful applicant should be clear about their working hours and days before accepting a job offer.
“However, if an employee asks not to work on a holy day, the employer should consider the request carefully and sympathetically, be reasonable and flexible where possible, and discuss the request and explore any concerns with the employee. Refusing the request without a good business reason could amount to discrimination.
“The employee, in making the request, should be reasonable, flexible and sympathetic too in taking into account their contract, the demands of their job and the needs of the organisation employing them.”
What HR should know
Acas goes on to advise: “Employers, managers, HR personnel, employees and their employee or trade union representatives should make sure they understand: Religion or belief discrimination, key points for the workplace, what religion or belief discrimination is and how it can happen, their rights and responsibilities the employer’s policy for preventing discrimination, and what behaviour and actions are unacceptable such as derogatory comments about an employee’s religion or belief.
"Also, employer and employees should be very careful regarding questions related to an individual’s religion or belief, as these might be or become discriminatory, particularly if they are intrusive or handled insensitively.
"It can be beneficial for an employer to offer all staff a grounding in religion or belief in the workplace. Further, an employer should provide training for all staff in constructively developing their understanding of each other. In the organisation, these steps can help foster good relations and prevent discrimination."
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