Accessing the Labour Market: Religion and Belief


Sufficiently robust statistical data regarding the impact of religion and belief upon employment is not currently available. Evidence on this relationship will be updated as, and when, it becomes available.

However, there is broader evidence suggesting a certain level of prejudice and discrimination exists towards certain faiths. This section will explore these perspectives in further detail, but should be viewed in conjunction with:

To provide further context to this priority, we would also recommend examining the data provided within:



The Scottish Social Attitudes survey, conducted in 2010, examines the relationship between religion and employment.

The survey provides an indication of participants attitudes towards the wearing of religious dress and/or symbols in the workplace:

  • 12% thought a bank should insist that a Sikh man remove his turban whilst at work.
  • 10% thought a bank should insist that a Muslim woman remove her headscarf at work.
  • 41% thought a bank should insist that a Muslim woman remove her veil at work.
  • 6% thought a bank should insist that a Christian woman remove her crucifix at work.

The same survey highlighted that 31% of respondents felt “people from ethnic minority communities take jobs away from other people in Scotland”.

37% believed that people who come here from Eastern Europe take jobs away from other people in Scotland.

28% of respondents also agreed that prejudiced behaviour, in specific circumstances is acceptable.

Although these views aren’t representative of the majority of the population, they do provide an indication of the prejudice that some people hold against those from different socio-cultural backgrounds.

Although this might not have a direct impact upon in accessing the labour market, it does provide an insight into the social barriers created through prejudice or discriminatory perspectives.

Source: Scottish Government. 2014. An Overview of Equality Results from the 2011 census Release 2.

The ministry of justice present data regarding employment tribunals in 2011-2012 due to religion or belief:

  • 940 cases in total

Of which,

  • 260 withdrawn
  • 290 ACAS settlements
  • 85 struck out
  • 24 successful at hearing
  • 45 dismissed at hearing
  • 140 unsuccessful at hearing

Source: Ministry of Justice. Employment Tribunals by Religion or Belief 2012