|Need time off work to celebrate the solstice? New guidance suggests this should be possible for pagans and druids|
In practice, that could mean anything from allowing workers to wear Christian symbols to giving pagans time off at the time of the key dates in their calendars.
Thousands of pagans and druids flock to Stonehenge and Avebury for sunrise on December 21 and on June 21, with a regular turn-out at Avebury for a dozen or more pagan festivals throughout the year.
But the EHRC guidance was criticised yesterday for suggesting going even further in employers’ rights.
It states that vegetarians or vegans could legitimately refuse to handle meat, or even sit on leather chairs, while eco-warriors could refuse to fly in an aeroplane if their beliefs are that strong that they refuse on environmental grounds.
The guidance insists that such beliefs should be “more than an opinion or a viewpoint”, and should be “genuinely and sincerely held and worthy of respect in a democratic society”.
What the guidelines could also do is give greater weight to some employees requests for longer holidays – particularly Muslims to attend the Haj pilgrimage, or for other workers from around the world to return for festivals.
A recent case, which is still to be settled, involved Goan Indian workers at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon claiming, among other things, that bosses discriminated against them by not allowing them enough time off in one go to return to Goa for festivals.
The guidance document included a set of hypothetical situations, including that a Christian nurse should not be disciplined for asking a patient if they could pray for them – as long as it is made clear that there is no pressure on the patient to agree.
The EHRC says that requests for religious observance – like a Jew leaving early on a Friday or a Muslim praying five times a day – should be allowed if it does not adversely affect other team members.
Full story: http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Pagans-druids-time-work-celebrate-solstices/story-18653399-detail/story.html#axzz2Q2V3xqaN
Stonehenge Tour Guide