Our highly experienced discrimination lawyers in Perth can help you with all ascpects of religious discrimination claims.
What is discrimination based on religion?
Discrimination based on an employee or prospective employee’s religion, religious affiliation, religious beliefs, religious convictions or religious activities including religious dress is unlawful. One example of discrimination is requiring a Jewish employee or a Seventh-Day Adventist to render work on the Sabbath, or prohibiting a Muslim employee praying on Friday. It may also be discriminatory to prohibit Sikh employees wearing turbans to work or female Muslim employees wearing hijab to work.
In Xiaofeng Hou v 3CW Chinese Radio ( FWC 1108 (17 February 2014) the radio show of a presenter on a Chinese language radio station was ended by the station’s general manager with an on-air announcement. She was dismissed from employment. When the presenter sought an explanation for the cancellation of her show and her dismissal, the general manager stated that it was because of her Christian religion and no other reason. The Court found that the dismissal was religious discrimination and the presenter was awarded compensation.
In Walsh v St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland (No. 2) ( QADT 32 (12 December 2008)a woman was elected President of a local St. Vincent De Paul Society group, a Catholic social welfare organisation. She held that position for three years rendering volunteer work which was not paid. From the start of her membership in the society and prior to being named its head, she informed the local group that although she was a Christian, she was not a Catholic. She was told by several members of the Society’s State executive that they felt uncomfortable with her as President of a local chapter. She was given three choices: convert to Catholicism, resign as the local chapter’s president or leave the Society.
The Court ruled that the local Catholic social welfare organisation was not considered a “religious body” that was exempt from the prohibition against discrimination on religious grounds. Catholicism was not a genuine occupational requirement of the position as the spiritual aspect of the position was only a minor part. Besides, she had held the position for three years before her religion became an issue. She was awarded $27,500 for the pain and suffering and for medical expenses incurred in treating the depressive illness she suffered consequent to the discrimination.
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