Race, as defined in the Equality Act 2010, covers skin colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins.
A religion is recognised as something with a clear structure and belief system, examples of which include, among others, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Paganism.
The legislation also protects those who hold beliefs such as environmentalism, or a belief in the importance of animal welfare. One criteria that a belief must satisfy in order to fall under the protection offered by the Equality Act, is that it must be in some way an essential aspect of the way in which the person in question conducts their life.
The ways you might be unlawfully discriminated against due to your race or religion vary. Some are more obvious than others, to find out more see our equality at work guide.
So long as the employer can demonstrate that there is a genuine occupational requirement to employ a person of a certain race or religion, then certain exemptions from the law are allowed. But this requirement must shown to be genuine in terms of the context of the work and the nature of the job.
Employers should make general effort to improve diversity and equality in their workplace. This may involve:
The employer should make sure to engage in a level of personal commitment with their workforce, ensuring that:
Other points of good practice include reviewing the employment process to ensure that there is no possibility for discrimination. This may include checking the language used in the job advertisement, the dates available for interviews, or any other potential avenue for discrimination.
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