What employers can and can’t do in terms of dress code and expression of religious beliefs in the workplace can be a grey area.

Two recent European rulings provide a bit more clarity when it comes to this area.

Based on current case law, applying a dress code policy that imposes a restriction on wearing clothing or jewellery that portrays the person’s religious belief can be fair if –

  • It is a genuine occupational requirement that applies to all employees and it doesn’t discriminate against any religion – e.g. it is required to portray neutrality.
  • It is a health and safety requirement.

What is not fair however:

  • To restrict employees wearing clothing or jewellery that portrays the person’s religious belief because of someone’s personal preference, let that be an external customer or an internal employee.
  • To restrict employees wearing clothing or jewellery that portrays one specific religious belief but not another – this would count as discrimination.

If you have any questions of religious beliefs and how they might impact your workplace – please give us a call on 0113 386 9269 so we can support you.  Sometimes it doesn’t impact dress code, however we have experience of this area of workplace issues and have worked in religious workplaces for difference Faiths and their denominations.

Suzie Bogle
Suzie Bogle
Owner of Breathing Space HR Ltd, HR Consultancy specialising in SME businesses. Creator of up&up - high flying HR

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