Law Commission Review: 13th Programme of Law Reform

On 14 December, the Law Commission announced that leasehold, trust law, smart contracts and chancel repair liability are among the 14 projects that the Law Commission will look at over the next three years. A number of these projects are associated with “law and religion” and related issues, including: Continue reading

May a faith-based nursery school sack a teacher for cohabitation? De Groen

And here’s one we should have noted earlier…

Background

In Ms Z De Groen v Gan Menachem Hendon Ltd [2017] UKET 3347281/2016, the claimant was employed by the respondent, a private Orthodox Jewish nursery school that followed the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe [22]. Part of the ethos of the nursery is to instil in its children the principles and practices of ultra-Orthodox Judaism:

“Both handbooks for teachers and parents and a job description mention the religious nature of the nursery in various places. However, none sets out that all staff must adhere to the beliefs and practices of the ultra-Orthodox community with which the nursery is most closely associated. Indeed, the respondent was at pains to point out that it was open to employing a non-Jew as a teacher provided that they had a sufficient knowledge of the principles of Judaism and adhered to key aspects of its fundamental principles (such as its dress code)” [24]. Continue reading

“Cohabitation, cohabitation, cohabitation”: Smith

The rights of cohabiting couples – or the lack of them – have been in the news for the last week or so. In her recent Times interview (£), as well as calling for no-fault divorce in England and Wales Lady Hale voiced support for new legal rights for unmarried couples. The number of unmarried couples living together has more than doubled in recent years, from 1.5 million in 1996 to 3.3 million in 2017; and on Monday, Resolution, formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association, published the results of a ComRes survey which found that:  Continue reading

Religious dress: Bougnaoui in the French Cour de Cassation

The French Cour de Cassation has handed down its judgment in the case of Ms Asma Bougnaoui, a Muslim design engineer sacked for refusing to remove her hijab when visiting the firm’s customers.

Background

Regular readers will recall that Ms Bougnaoui worked for the French information technology company Micropole SA. She wore a hijab at work but was told by her employer to remove it while visiting a client after the client’s staff had complained about her appearance Continue reading

Religion, employment and the Genuine Occupational Requirement: Egenberger

Advocate General Tanchev has today published his Opinion in the case of Vera Egenberger v Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung e.V. [2017] ECJ C-414/16.

Background

Ms Egenberger applied for a job advertised by the Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung [EWDE], an auxiliary organisation of the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland [EKD] which is governed by private law and exclusively pursues charitable, benevolent and religious purposes. Continue reading

Northern Ireland, discrimination and fair employment: Scott

In Scott v Stevenson & Reid Ltd [2017] 82/15 FET 2577/15, Ms Scott worked at the Prince Regent Road, Belfast, branch of Stevenson & Reid Ltd, a firm which supplies bathrooms and heating systems. She was the only Roman Catholic working in the showroom, though Mr Kevin Kerr, a Roman Catholic director, was also based at the premises. She claimed that she had been constructively unfairly dismissed and had suffered discrimination on the basis of religion and/or political opinion, harassment on the ground of her religious belief and/or political opinion and discrimination by victimisation after her line-manager had shouted a Republican slogan at her during an altercation [2]. Continue reading

Dismissal for opposition to same-sex adoption: Mr R Page

Is opposition on grounds of conscience to adoption by same-sex couples protected by equality legislation and the ECHR? That was the issue before the Tribunal in Mr R Page v NHS Trust Development Authority [2017] UKET 2302433/2016.

The background

At the time of his appointment as a Non-Executive Director of the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership NHS Trust, Mr Page was a lay magistrate. In July 2014, he had sat with two other magistrates as a family panel to consider an adoption application by a same-sex couple. The application was granted by the other two magistrates – a decision from which he dissented. The other magistrates and the clerk of the court complained about him following that case and he was subsequently reprimanded by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice: a statement was issued by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office dated 30 December 2014 in the following terms:

Continue reading