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Jewish job applicant succeeds in indirect discrimination claim after refusing to work Saturdays

An employee, who was turned down for a job because she followed a Jewish practice preventing her from working Saturdays, has been successful in her claim for indirect discrimination on the grounds of her religious belief.

Employers must ensure that they do not adopt selection criteria, policies or other rules and procedures that would place employees or job applicants of a particular religion or belief at a disadvantage. The only exception is if the employer can show that they are justified in applying such a practice, which is not always easy to do.

In the recent case of Aurelie Fhima v Travel Jigsaw Ltd, Ms Fhima applied for a job with Travel Jigsaw.  The post would have required her to work five out of every seven days.

During her interview, Ms Fhima explained that she observed Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest) and therefore, could not work Saturdays.  She did however offer to work every Sunday as an alternative to requiring her to work a Saturday.

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This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

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Andrew Chamberlain

Partner - Head of Employment & Chair of the SDE

I am a Partner, the National Head of the Employment Team and the Chair of the Service Delivery Executive (SDE), which is focused on building better solutions for clients.