Three Christian organisations have teamed up to produce a resource aimed at helping employers understand issues facing Christians at work.
ADF International, Evangelical Alliance and the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship have produced Christianity in the Workplace: An employer's guide to Christian beliefs, a 26-page booklet addressing issues such as alcohol and gambling, wearing crosses, sharing faith and prayer.
Christians such as Nadia Eweida, the BA employee banned from wearing a cross at a check-in desk, have fought high-profile legal cases for the right to manifest their faith. The resource is designed to help employers and HR teams understand the issues and avoid costly and damaging conflicts.
The guide notes that 'unlike other religious faiths, there are relatively few specific practices that would be collectively considered mandatory for Christians to undertake. In practice, this means that Christians will be guided by the Bible, denominational teaching and their conscience as they manifest their faith in everyday life.'
On faith-shairing, it says: 'While Christians will need to be sensitive to the timing and manner in which they raise conversations about faith, conversations about Christianity are likely to arise because of the importance of belief to many Christians. Christians may also offer to pray with colleagues who are experiencing particularly difficult situations.'
This will probably be 'motivated by a heart-felt desire to comfort or encourage the individual concerned', it says, but 'should not be pushed if the Christian can see that the offer is making the individual in question uncomfortable'.
It mentions concerns around issues such as alcohol, gambling – including workplace raffles – and swearing, adding: 'Christians may take differing positions on a number of contemporary issues, for instance; abortion, sexuality, sexual identity, marriage, war, contraception and other religions. Where Christians are inspired by their faith to take a position on these issues in public, it is a manifestation of their faith.'
It provides guidance on what counts as direct and indirect discrimination, harrassment and victimisatio, and urges the importance of 'reasonable accommodation' for believers in terms of the Equality Act 2010.
Simon McCrossan, head of public policy at the Evangelical Alliance, said: 'This guide helpfully explains how equality law applies to Christian beliefs and contains many practical steps that employers can take to create an inclusive and respectful work environment where their Christian employees can thrive and avoid being placed in situations where they feel they have to choose between their faith and their job.'
ADF International legal counsel Laurence Wilkinson said: 'We are launching the Christianity in the Workplace resource to support employers in the creation of an inclusive and enfranchising work environment for people of faith. Ultimately, nobody should have to choose between their profession and their faith. For many employees, religion plays a central role in their lives that cannot and should not simply be left at home. Research shows that employers who cultivate a diverse and inclusive workplace are likely to benefit from a motivated and engaged workforce.'
To download the booklet click here.