Religious or philosophical beliefs
A woman wearing a veil is refused access to a polling station; a young Jewish man is harassed in the street because he is wearing a kippah; a Muslim man refuses to shake his female colleague’s hand; a high school adopts a new rule banning the wearing of headgear; etc.
Religious or philosophical beliefs relate to the existence, or not, of a god or deities. Atheism, agnosticism and secularity also fall within this scope.
The diversity of religious or philosophical beliefs in the world of work, at school, in public services or in the media, is still a source of lively debate.
Anti-racism and anti-discrimination legislation helps combat:
- Direct or indirect discrimination: refusals to hire or dismiss a person, refusal to rent to someone, statutory measures concerning the criteria of 'religious and philosophical beliefs';
- Hate speech: incitement to hatred, violence or discrimination;
- Hate crimes: various acts of violence, physical and verbal aggression, harassment at school, at the workplace, while practising sports, over the internet and through social media.
What does Unia do?
In an effort to reconcile the principle of religious freedom with other fundamental rights, especially in the employment sector, Unia is calling for the implementation of the 'Highest Common Denominator' concept: on the basis of an individual request linked to aspects of belief (food, adapted hours, etc.), an answer is given that not only satisfies the person in question, but also everyone else. The aim is to avoid implementing specific treatment for a sector of the population.
Unia combats discrimination associated with religious and philosophical beliefs in every field for which it is competent, by:
- advising and supporting discriminated persons;
- conducting information and awareness-raising campaigns, providing training;
- offering an online tool on religious symbols;
- informing employers about anti-discrimination legislation (especially through eDiv online training) and reasonable accommodations;
- providing the authorities concerned with recommendations;
- consulting with the sector, public authorities and associations.
Victim or witness
Recent articles Religious or philosophical beliefs
More employment discrimination cases reported to Unia in 2017
Last year Unia opened a total of 2,017 cases of situations where people felt they were the subject of discrimination. This represents a 6% increase over 2016 (1,907 cases). Instances of employment discrimination were the most frequently opened cases at Unia.
Unia reacts to the report on discrimination by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)
Out of all survey-respondents of North African and Turkish origin who experienced discrimination in the past year in Belgium, 20% said it had occurred on the job market, while the European average on this point is 12%. This figure was brought to Unia’s attention in the Second EU-MIDIS report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
Recent publications Religious or philosophical beliefs
Diversity Barometer Education (2018)
Unia commissioned a study to be carried out about equal opportunities in the schools in the three Communities in Belgium. The Diversity Barometer Education is the final part of a triptych. The first two parts were about Employment (2012) and Housing (2014).
Evaluation of federal anti-discrimination legislation (2017)
Article 52 of the Anti-Discrimination Law states that the application and effectiveness of the anti-discrimination laws must be assessed by the Legislative Chambers. Unia has prepared an assessment report on the Anti-Discrimination Law and the Anti-Racism Law based on its own practical experience, national jurisprudence and its general expertise in the fight against discrimination.
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