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Employer to pay applicant for religious discrimination

DiscriminationJuly 14, 2015

Employer to pay applicant for religious discrimination (Last Updated On: August 8, 2016)

A car rental company in the United Kingdom has had to pay compensation after discriminating against a potential employee.

A job seeker responded to an application to work in a car rental call centre. Upon negotiation of the role, the company denied her application because the woman could not work on Saturdays.

The woman’s religious beliefs prohibited her to work between sunset on Fridays and sunset on Saturdays because she practised the Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. To justify her request the woman told the potential employer that she would make herself available to work every Sunday instead. A negotiation the UK Employment Tribunal found to be an accommodating and reasonable compromise for the car rental company.

The company responded to the applicant by saying “we are still looking for people who are flexible enough to work Saturdays”. This indicated that the woman failed to reach the requirements for the role solely because of her religious beliefs.

In Australia, employers can also find themselves in the same situation. The example is a reminder that employers can potentially discriminate against people who are not even employed by the company. Anti-discrimination legislation in the Fair Work Act covers job applicants as well as actual employees. All employers are required to take all job applications ‘seriously, consider each one fairly, with reason and consider the applicant with an open mind’.

In this case the tribunal found that the car rental company could have reasonably worked around the applicants shift requests and was required to pay the applicant £17,000 in compensation. The employer could have rostered the woman on five of the six remaining days as this was the requirements of one working week. The functionality of the business would not have been compromised because of this employee’s preferred roster.

If you are an employer, you will need to be mindful when interviewing and selecting new staff. The Fair Work Act protects both job applicants as well as employees.

If you have any questions relating to the processes or correct procedures to ensure that you are meeting the legal requirements when hiring new staff, call Employsure today on 1300 651 415. Employsure can set the correct employment policies so that all of your staff are aware and protected from potential discrimination.

Sourced: WorkplaceInfo

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