New publication aims to help employers better understand Christian beliefs

14th Sep 2018 - James Mildred

A brand new resource has been published by a group of leading Christian organisations which aims to better equip employers to understand Christian beliefs.

 The publication, called An Employer’s Guide to Christian Beliefs – Christianity in the Workplace has been jointly published by ADF International, the Evangelical Alliance (EA) and the Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship (lcf).

Aims of publication

In the introduction, the booklet says that studies have shown that employers who cultivate a diverse and inclusive workplace are likely to benefit from a more motivated and engaged workforce.

The aims of Christianity in the Workplace are as follows:

1. Empower employers and HR teams

2. Provide a practical explanation of how equality law in the UK works in respect of Christianity

3. Explore best practices that aim to head-off avoidable conflict

The resource covers the basic elements of the Christian faith, the importance of Sunday or other Festival days, as well as the wearing of a cross, alcohol, gambling, language and wider conscience issues.

It provides a summary of key pieces of legislation – the Equality Act 2010, the European Convention on Human Rights and Sunday trading laws.

In the final section, it offers practical advice for employers to help them cultivate a work environment where Christians feel welcomed.

Reasonable accommodation

One of the recommendations is that businesses incorporate the principle of reasonable accommodation into HR practice.

Although reasonable accommodation does not currently exist in UK law, the principle has received increased attention in recent years.

A recent report called ‘Enforcing Human Rights’ by the Joint Committee on Human Rights recommended the Government introduce a legal test to ensure claims of conscience and faith are reasonably accommodated within the UK’s human right’s framework.

At the end of 2016, in partnership with the think tank ResPublica, CARE published a major report called Beyond Belief which argued for reasonable accommodation to be included in UK law.

‘Fantastic new resource’

CARE’s Communications Manager James Mildred who attended the launch event said: “This is a fantastic new resource.

“There’s a real need for greater clarity when it comes to faith in the workplace. It would be fair to say that Christians don’t always understand their rights and employers don’t always understand – and sadly sometimes don’t want to understand – basic Christian beliefs.

“There is a public dimension to the Christian faith which inevitably means those who hold to it will seek to express their faith in sensitive ways in the work place.  

“I hope this new publication will better equip employers to create more inclusive workplaces where Christians and others feel valued and where their beliefs are respected and reasonably accommodated.”

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