Monday, December 14, 2015

British Court of Appeals Says Muslim Prison Chaplains Did Not Suffer Pay Discrimination

In Naeem v The Secretary of State for Justice, (EWCA, Dec. 9, 2015) , the England and Wales Court of Appeal held that discrimination was not the cause of the average pay of Muslim prison chaplains in British prisons being lower on average than that of Christian chaplains. Instead it was caused by the fact that the Prison Service only began employing Muslim chaplains in 2002.  Before that there were not enough Muslim prisoners to call for employing full-time Muslim chaplains.  Thus the average length of service for Muslim chaplains is less than for Christian chaplains.  Chaplains get pay raises based on length of service.

Petitioners, who originally brought their cases before an Employment Tribunal, argued that they were the victims of "indirect discrimination"-- which is defined in British law as a practice that operates with a disparate impact on a protected class.  The appeals court, relying on earlier precedent, held: "an employer can rebut a claim of indirect discrimination by showing that an apparent disparate impact is the result of non-discriminatory factors." Law & Religion UK reports further on the decision.