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Vegans and Environmentalists Should Have Same Workplace Rights as Christians, Says Britain

Updated equality guidelines offer protections for employees with 'profound personal beliefs.'

British vegans and environmentalists should obtain the same special treatment in the workplace as Christians, according to new guidelines from Great Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The updated policy advice from the EHRC recommends that employers respect religious and lifestyle beliefs by allowing workers to discuss and demonstrate those beliefs in the workplace. The recommendation comes weeks after several controversial European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rulings involving free religious expression in the workplace.

The guidelines state that a protected belief must be "more than an opinion or a viewpoint, and it should be serious, genuinely and sincerely held, and worthy of respect in a democratic society." This extends beyond religious protections, offering exemptions for employees whose lifestyle choices could conflict with job requirements.

One hypothetical scenario detailed in the document would allow a Christian nurse to offer to pray for a patient. Another scenario says "ecologists should be permitted to tell colleagues that it is irresponsible to drive to work because it damages the environment. They could also ask to be excused from duties that increase CO2 emissions," according to The Telegraph.

CT previously reported on the landmark ECHR rulings, where British Christians suing over workplace discrimination lost three of four cases in January.

Related Topics:Religious Freedom
Posted:April 9, 2013 at 7:00AM
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