Friday prayers at lunchtime
10 June 2011
In Cherfi v G4S Security Services Ltd (2011) the EAT has held that refusing to allow a security guard to attend a mosque on Friday lunchtimes was not indirect religious discrimination.
Mr Cherfi, a Muslim, was employed by G4S Security as a security guard. He worked at a site where G4S were contracted to provide a specified number of security guards, who had to be on-site at all times. This included their lunch breaks, for which they were paid.
On Fridays, Mr Cherfi began leaving the site during his lunch hour to attend a mosque for prayers. Following a verbal warning and two unsuccessful grievances he brought a claim for indirect religious discrimination.
He lost is claim in the Tribunal and the EAT rejected his appeal. The requirement for Mr Cherfi to remain at work on Friday lunchtimes was justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. The operational needs of the business, including the financial implications for G4S if it breached its commercial contract, meant there were justifiable reasons for imposing restrictions on Mr Cherfi`s ability to attend Friday prayers.
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