No, there are different types of discrimination which relate to religious or similar philosophical belief or political opinion, and it doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful.
The main forms are:
is where you are treated worse than others because of your religious or philosophical belief or political opinion.
For example: A firm advertised for a receptionist and held interviews for the post. The best candidate at interview was not appointed because of their religion; the job was given to a candidate of a different religion with less experience.
is where an organisation unjustifiably operates a rule or policy that looks the same for everyone but in effect disadvantages people from your religious or philosophical belief or political opinion group.
For example: An organisation whose workforce is predominately one religion decides to advertise a new post internally only. This restricts the number of applicants from other religions applying for the post.
is where a person behaves in a way, on religious or philosophical belief or political opinion grounds, which violates your dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
For example: An organisation makes no attempt to stop or remove sectarian graffiti being displayed in the workplace. This is creating an intimidating work environment.
is where you have made a complaint of religious or philosophical belief or political opinion discrimination or helped someone else with a complaint under the fair employment and treatment law, and suffered as a result.
For example: An employee is no longer offered the opportunity of overtime as she was a witness for a work colleague in a tribunal hearing.
Over the past three years we have helped over 700 people who have experienced some form of religious or philosophical belief or political opinion discrimination. Individuals have raised issues such as:
Failure to appoint
Failure to shortlist
You are protected from discrimination because of your religious or philosophical belief and political opinion in all aspects of working life:
- applying for a job
- terms and conditions in a job
- opportunities for training / promotion
- disciplinary / grievance procedures
- the working environment
- dismissal / redundancy
- job references
However, there are limited circumstances where discrimination on the grounds of religious belief and political opinion is allowed.
One is where either a particular religious belief or political opinion may be required to do a job, for example, clergymen and ministers of religion, and some political appointments.
The appointment of teachers
in schools is also exempted from the anti-discrimination legislation.
1. Contact our Discrimination Advice Officers who will provide you with free and confidential information and guidance to help you resolve your issue.
2. Raise your complaint directly with your employer and seek a resolution.
3. If a resolution is not reached and you wish to take your case further you must notify the Labour Relations Agency. You will be offered early conciliation which can help you and your employer resolve the issue before you need to make a claim.
4. If your complaint is still not resolved you can lodge a claim with the tribunals. We may be able to provide you with legal representation. It is your responsibility to lodge your complaint of discrimination with the tribunal.
Only a tribunal decides whether the treatment you have complained of is unlawful discrimination. It is separate to, and independent from, the Equality Commission.
If you require assistance or would like to make a discrimination complaint, complete our online form or telephone 028 90 500 600 (10am-4pm, Mon-Fri).