Case round-up; Saini v All Saints Haque Centre

The four individuals involved in this case were Saini, his boss Chandel (both Hindus), Bungay and Paul (both of the Ravidassi faith). They all worked at an advice centre.

Bungay and Paul were made redundant as employees of the advice centre when funding ran out, but they remained board members. They held Chandel to blame for the loss of their jobs because they thought that he was looking after his fellow Hindus at the expense of those of Ravidassi faith.

As board members, they started a disciplinary investigation against Chandel after he had been criticised by the Immigration Services Commissioner for mishandling work permit applications. During the investigation they interviewed Saini, who felt he was being bullied and intimidated into giving evidence against Chandel.

Religious dismissal

Chandel was dismissed, and Saini resigned. They both brought complaints of religious discrimination. At tribunal, Saini’s discrimination claim failed because he was not targeted in the same way Chandel was.

Namely, he was not treated the way he was because he was a Hindu, but rather because he could provide “ammunition” against Chandel. The EAT allowed Saini’s appeal, and confirmed that he had been a victim of religious discrimination. The EAT reasoned that it was clear from the evidence that Saini’s mistreatment was motivated by the respondent’s determination to dismiss Chandel on the grounds of his religious belief.

Key points

  • Regulation 5(1)(b) of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 will be breached not only where an employee is harassed on the grounds that he holds certain religious beliefs, but also where he is harassed because someone else holds certain religious beliefs.
  • Reference to “religion or belief” includes a lack of religion or belief. As such, non-believers have the same rights as believers.

What you should do

  • Review relevant policies and guidelines issued to employees in relation to equal opportunities and bullying and harassment. Clarify what constitutes harassment.

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