Monitoring religion or belief identities

There is no legal requirement to keep information on how staff groups are made up (gender, ethnic groups, age, those with disabilities) other than in the public sector where racial monitoring is a statutory requirement. However there is evidence that most people are willing to provide this information voluntarily and monitoring religious or belief identities alongside ethnic or racial identities offers many benefits:

  • It helps organisations to make sure their equality policy is working and to assess whether recruitment and training policies are reaching a wide audience reflecting the local community.
  • It can also help organisations to understand their employees’ needs by getting to know the practices, festivals etc of difference religions and beliefs.
  • It can help organisations to monitor the application of their policies, performance appraisal schemes, grievance and disciplinary procedures, staff turnover and so on, and to identify disproportionate impacts on people from specific religions of beliefs.

Staff should be told why religion or belief are being included in equality monitoring processes and assured of confidentiality and anonymity. It can be explained that an organisation wishes to collect information that will enable it to respond as positively as possible to the varied needs of all its employees.

Information about religion or belief should not be sought at interviews where it is irrelevant to the decision-making process unless it is relevant to the duties of the post. It should, at any rate, be made clear to candidates what the duties of the post involve so that they can consider whether it might conflict with their religion or beliefs, for example, if the job involved unavoidable contact with pork products.