No ‘human rights agenda’ means no religious discrimination cases!

Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, seems a bit confused.  He’s complaining about the ‘human rights agenda’ while, at the same time, backing Christians who are bringing court cases under human rights law.

Let’s imagine, for a moment, a Britain in which Mr Nazir-Ali’s hated ‘human rights agenda’ has been repudiated or, perhaps, had never existed in the first place. There are no laws against discrimination, and no signing of the European Convention on Human Rights.

What do people do when they think their religious rights have been infringed at work? Not much. They can hope for a bit of sympathy from their employers but there is certainly no legal redress.

If you decide you don’t want to work according to your employer’s policy, or you don’t want to do part of your job because it’s against your religion, tough shit! You’ll just have to resign or put up with it.

If you wear jewellery which flouts your employer’s health and safety rules or uniform policy, you must either stop wearing it or quit your job. There is no recourse to the law.

And don’t expect your employer to bend over backwards to accommodate you. In this world without a ‘human rights agenda’ there are no compensatory desk jobs. Employees who demand every Christmas off on religious grounds are regarded as a pain in the arse and told to put up or shut up. If they’ve kicked up a fuss and attacked their employers in the press, the very idea that they would still be working for their long-suffering bosses is simply ludicrous.

In this parallel universe, Lilian Ladele, Gary McFarlane, Shirley Chaplin and Nadia Eweida have long since been told to comply with their employers’ rules or go and find another job.

However, in the real world, British employment law contains protections against religious discrimination and the UK has signed the Convention on Human Rights. Thanks to the ‘human rights agenda’, therefore, Ladele, McFarlane, Chaplin and Eweida were able to bring religious discrimination cases under domestic law and will take their complaints to the European Court of Human Rights this week.

Hopefully, common sense will prevail and all four will lose in Strasbourg as they did in the UK. However, without the much maligned ’human rights agenda’ they wouldn’t have had cases to bring in the first place.

Note: There are lots of people commenting on this case with plenty of opinion and not a lot of knowledge. To avoid making an idiot of yourself with an ill-informed comment, why not read the facts first? You’ll find them here and here.

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9 Responses to No ‘human rights agenda’ means no religious discrimination cases!

  1. Pingback: No ‘human rights agenda’ means no religious discrimination cases! - Rick - Member Blogs - HR Blogs - HR Space from Personnel Today and Xpert HR

  2. Needs2Cash says:

    What damage has a symbol of the faithful done to you or anyone else? I believe this is the legal argument that will be heard in the ECHR this week.

    BTW, why the venom symbolized by your offensive language?

    • Rick says:

      It hasn’t. But that’s not the argument. There was never an attempt to ban it by anyone. The ban was on dangling jewellery. Any dangling jewellery.

  3. John D says:

    In some of these cases, I believe there is a genuine feeling that the normal rules of society should not apply to them but – as Rick states – they should simply find another job more suited to their beliefs. It is what many others do and have done – and will do again in the future. It often helps people to move on to more fulfilling work. In some other cases, I think the people involved are motivated by greed for big money payouts against large-sized employers who can take the hit.

  4. Abilena says:

    According to human rights, their is no restrictions on their religious rights have been infringed at work. But some of the employers getting affected by this type of restriction on religious issue that should have to be avoidable the government have to take steps for that issue.

  5. Stephen says:

    I am as profoundy convinced that capitalism is a Bad Thing, and should be replaced by a more equitable social order, as any Christian is that Jesus rose on the third day, or any Muslim of the nature of Muhammad’s prophethood.

    My Hammer and Sickle necklace is an expression of my faith in humanity and belief that we can construct a classless future . Marx was very clear that ” A Communist disdains to conceal his opinions” the wearing of a hammer and sickle necklace is a visible means of manifesting that calling. In other words, if others know I am a Communist because they see the hammer and Sickle on my necklace, I tend to focus more on my actions and words to keep them as consistent as possible with the requirements of my Communist beliefs. If I were forced to not wear the Hammr and Sickle, my accountability to Communist living while at work may be compromised and my actions may suffer.”

    .. I await today’s judgements with interest.

  6. John D says:

    Stephen: don’t hold your breath waiting for the judgments. You will have turned a deep shade of blue long before they are handed down…….

  7. Richard says:

    Playing devils advocate, if employees should fall into line with their employers’ policies or leave should the same apply to women whose employers wish to insist on full time working or older workers whose employers wish to retain a compulsory retirement age?

  8. Keith says:

    Lots of Bishops and former Bishops seem deeply confused and inconsistent. The Tory party like the Republicans in the US seem to wish to exploit dim Christians for their party political ends. Via The Daily Mail. What these Bishops really want it seems is a privileged place for their beliefs placing then above other religions and agnostic or atheist view points. In todays world that is un acceptable and out dated. It is time these people shut up and abandoned their self appointed victim hood and attempting to impose their ideas on other people.

    The case before the ECHR will probably fail. You can never be certain before hand but the argument that wearing a cross/ crucifix is not essential to religious freedom is quite strong. The Government Lawyers seem to have made this very point in their submission. It may seem rather technical but none of the offices of the church are impinged by a ban on jewellery. What people wear or do outside their work hours is not affected and thus no one is prevented from attending church or receiving communion or any of the rest of the rituals that constitute religious practice.

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