Thursday, February 27, 2020

Council of Europe asks for the Respect for Freedom of Religion or Belief on the Workplace

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has reaffirmed that Member States has an obligation to ensure non-discrimination in the workplace based on the grounds or religion or belief in an adopted resolution, based on the report  of Davo Stier (EPP/CD). PACE called on Member States to “promote a culture of tolerance and ‘living together' in a religiously pluralist society”, while ensuring that “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is respected”.

The fact that freedom of religion and conscience on the workplace has been reaffirmed is a very positive development. This is in line with previous resolutions and international documents that are calling the Member States to promote reasonable accommodation. It is an "adjustment made in a system to accommodate or make an individual exception based on a proven need". The United Nations use this term in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities"  supporting the view that refusal to make accommodation results in discrimination. Although as a concept, reasonable accommodation was first mentioned in relations to the rights of people in disabilities, it is now used to describe similar arrangements based on religion, culture etc.