The National Secular Society (NSS) has prepared an official complaint to the
European Commission claiming that religious exemptions in the new employment
discrimination regulations go too far.
NSS executive director, Keith Porteous Wood, said: "As they stand,
these regulations, which were supposed to protect workers from discrimination,
will actually put more people at risk from discrimination in their jobs."
The NSS claims the exemptions granted by the British Government go far beyond
what the original EU Employment Directive intended.
If the commission finds merit in the complaint, it can ask the Government to
justify its actions, and then take legal proceedings on behalf of the
commission to correct any mistakes.
Last week, the High Court rejected a challenge by the trade unions on the
legitimacy of religious exemptions.
Wood said: "The High Court appeal by the trade unionsÉ only focused on
one problem with the religious exemptions – their effect on gay people. Our
complaint shows that the exemptions also put those who do not have religious
beliefs at a significant disadvantage in the employment field.
"It is not just homosexuals, but also the millions of non-believers who
could be denied jobs with employers who declare they have a religious