Melton Borough Council

Protected Characteristics

Religion or Belief or Non-belief

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to discriminate, victimise or harass a person (employee or customer) because of their religion or belief (or because a person has no religion or belief)

There is no specific list that sets out what religion or belief is. The Equality Act 2010 defines it as any religion, religious or philosophical belief. This includes all major religions, as well as less widely practised ones.

In very limited circumstances, an employer can claim that a certain religion or belief is necessary for a role. In other words, the religion or belief is considered to be a “genuine occupational requirement” e.g. if a butcher has to prepare kosher meat (meat that has been prepared in a way that is consistent with the Jewish faith), it might be justified to insist that this role is performed by a Jew.

What is a philosophical belief?

To be protected under the Equality Act 2010, a philosophical belief must:

  • be genuinely held;
  • be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint, based on the present state of information available;
  • be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour;
  • attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance;
  • be worthy of respect in a democratic society, compatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.

Humanism and atheism are examples of philosophical beliefs.

Religion useful contacts and links:

ACAS aim to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations.

Charnwood Grove of Druids are a group of pagans from various traditions and backgrounds who meet together to celebrate the Pagan seasonal festivals, and develop our spiritual path together in community.

Christians Aware  is an educational and religious charity and a member of "Churches Together in Britain and Ireland" and "Churches Together in England".

Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS), gives tailored advice on discrimination issues to individuals across Britain. It explains legal rights and remedies, options for informal resolution and refers people who cannot or do not wish to go down this road to conciliation or mediation services.

Equality and Diversity Forum a national network of equality and human rights organisations.

Equality and Human Rights Commission: the EHRC champions equality and human rights for all, working to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, protect human rights and to build good relations, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to participate in society.

Leicester Council of Faiths promotes trust, understanding and co-operation among the city’s faith communities, speaks up for their viewpoint on significant issues, and provides reliable information to civic authorities, service providers, educational institutions and local media.

Leicester Secular Society is the leading organisation in Leicestershire advocating and campaigning for an inclusive and plural society free from religious privilege, prejudice and discrimination.

Loughborough Council of Faiths seeks to support people as they work through issues of faith and religious diversity.

St Philips Centre a Leicester based organisation, working to promote better interfaith understanding. 

The British Humanist Association works on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical lives on the basis of reason and humanity.

The Inter Faith Network for the UK  works to promote good relations between people of different faiths in the UK.