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Intervention sought in religion cases

The EHRC has made an application to intervene in four cases at the European Court of Human Rights involving religious discrimination, arguing that judges have interpreted the law too narrowly.

The Commission has sought permission to intervene in the cases of Nadia Eweida & Shirley Chaplin against the United Kingdom and Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane against the United Kingdom. If allowed to intervene, the Commission will argue that the way existing human rights and equality law has been interpreted by judges is insufficient to protect freedom of religion or belief.

The Commission is concerned that UK and EU courts have created a body of confusing and contradictory case law. For example, some Christians wanting to display religious symbols in the workplace have lost their legal claim, so are not allowed to wear a cross, while others have been allowed to, after reaching a compromise with their employer. As a result, it is difficult for employers to know what they should be doing. The Commission will propose the idea of ‘reasonable accommodations’ to help employers manage how they allow people to manifest their religion or belief.

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