The EHRC has issued a clarification of its intentions in this Q and A, which has been reproduced by the Equality and Diversity Forum. See EHRC intervention in cases of religious discrimination. This inlcudes the following passage:
The purpose of our intervention is to explain that the law should consider how it may give better respect for religious rights within the workplace than has hitherto been the case, without diminishing the rights of others. We want to change the view that there needs to be an either/or situation. The spotlight and focus is placed too frequently on conflict in place of dialogue that could help identify other acceptable workable solutions.
The accommodation of rights is not a zero sum equation whereby one right cancels out or trumps another. We believe that if the law and practice were considered more widely, then in many situations there would be scope for diverse rights to be respected.
Our view is that careful, sensitive and balanced treatment and consideration is discouraged by the approach taken by the courts to date. In turn, this hinders the development and dissemination of better practice amongst those with duties. We believe that where possible ways should be found within the law of promoting the resolution of disputes at an early stage, without protracted, costly, complex legal proceedings that irretrievably damage relations between the parties.
Philip Henson on Employment Law Update gives an extensive background briefing in The Equality and Human Rights Commission calls for ‘reasonable accommodation’ for religion or belief.
More comment articles expected soon. Meanwhile, this earlier TA article indicates the views of Trevor Phillips, chair of the EHRC.
Heresy Corner has Equality Commission outrages gays and humanists.
The Church Times carries a news report by Ed Beavan Courts have set bar too high for Christians, says EHRC.