Wednesday, July 13, 2011

UK Equality Commission Wants European Court To Require Accommodation of Employees' Religious Beliefs

Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission announced Monday that it has petitioned to intervene in four religious discrimination cases being appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, all involving attempt by employees to obtain accommodation of their religious practices.  In its applications to intervene, the Commission argues that past decisions have not sufficiently protected freedom of religion or belief.  It will urge the Court to adopt a principle of reasonable accommodation of religious beliefs.  Two of the cases involve female employees who wished to wear a cross on a necklace in violation of their employers' dress policies. (Applications of Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin).  The second two cases involved employees with religous objections to same-sex unions.  One case involved a marriage registrar who objected to taking part in registration of same-sex civil partnerships.  The second involved a counselor who had concerns about providing sexual counselling to same-sex couples. (Applications of Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane).