I would like to see the religious exemptions in employment law removed. I take it to be a basic principle of our civil life that we have decided, over the last ten years to legislate to make our society more equal so that people of all kinds have an equal opportunity to participate and share their gifts and succeed wherever and in whatever kind of work they choose. However, the exempions for a "genuine occupational requirement" allow for LGBT people or women to discriminated against. They may fully fulfil the religious character of the post in question, but simply on the ground of their sexual orientation or gender may be discounted. I feel that this should be repealed, and that appointments, even ones that have a specific religious requirement should be made on merit, and should not have regard to sexual orientation or gender.

Why is this idea important?

I would like to see the religious exemptions in the Equality Bill removed. I am daily thankful to live in this country at this time, and for the many things that the last government did to make this possible, with the increasing acceptance of the right of all people regardless of their ethnicity, gender, age or sexual orientation to live a normal life like anyone else, and to be protected from discrimination or harrassment.

The only institutions that do not have to follow this legal assumption of equal treatment are churches and other religious bodies. They have a legal right to discriminate against women and LGBT people in employment. You can apply for a job, but fail to be short-listed, even if you fulfil the job criteria completely, solely on the grounds of your (assumed) sexual orientation or percieved gender. This would not be legal in any other field of work. What is more concerning is that there is no way for you to tell if this is the reason for your failing to gain a particular job or even an interview – though it is legal for employers to discriminate in this way they are not obliged to tell you, and in fact will not do so out of embarrassment.

If discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender is not right, then it is not right for everybody. We ought not to protect and preserve a corner of our society in which it is held to be ok – no matter how influential that lobby may be.

One Reply to “Remove the religious exemptions in employment legislation in relation to sexual orientation or gender”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.