Watch thy mouth

Employers and employees must be careful when using certain words within the workplace, as they could be seen to be committing religious discrimination.

In a recent Employment Tribunal case, a Christian employee claimed to have been harassed by other members of staff by their use of the words ‘God’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ in workplace conversation. The employee felt this harassment amounted to religious discrimination.

The Tribunal held that the use of such language was not a form of harassment on the grounds that the comments were not directed at that employee specifically and that the same language was used whether that employee was or was not present.

The Tribunal highlighted here that under the Equality Act 2010, harassment on religious grounds which is unintentional, will mean finding a balance between whether the conduct was reasonable, or if, on balance, it was reasonable to infer that from the Claimants perspective the actions were discriminatory.  

In this case the Tribunal did not consider this to be the case, as the words used were commonly used, swearwords, despite being blasphemous in nature. Therefore there was no harassment of anyone of a religious disposition.



Published: 07 Nov 2014


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