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Religion or Belief - Protected Characteristic

Key Points

  • Lack of religion or belief is also protected.
  • There are some exceptions to the application of the Act for organised religions.
  • Religious freedom is protected but it can be restricted where it encroaches on the rights of others, for example respect for private and family life or freedom of expression.
  • There is a great deal of case law on what constitutes a belief for the purposes of protection.
  • The Equality Act 2010 allows for wide interpretation in accordance with Article 9 of ECHR.
  • Brexit effect - unless otherwise stated, the position in relation to any EU legislation and decisions as set out in this card is as it was understood at the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020. For information on the status of EU decisions and legislation as of 31st December 2020 please see Statement on impact of Brexit on Emplaw Online content

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