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

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.


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