The European Humanist Federation has urged the Council of Europe not to adopt a resolution that seeks to privilege claims based on religious arguments in the workplace.
On 29 January, a draft resolution and recommendation put forward by conservative MPs on “The protection of freedom of religion or belief in the workplace” will be put to the vote of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. These drafts would require Member States to introduce in their legal system the concept of “reasonable accommodation”. Even though they claim to ensure freedom of religion or belief in the workplace, they may actually cause discrimination and threaten the rights of others.
Together with our member organisations, we have written to the Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to call them to reject these drafts as they stand. We strongly oppose this attempt to move away from secularist principles.
Under human rights or EU law, “reasonable accommodation” of religious claims at work is not requested and it is not desirable. On the contrary, it gives a privileged position to certain claims based on religious belief and would discriminate against non-religious employees. “Reasonable accommodation” also risks endangering sexual and reproductive rights and leading to discrimination against LGBTQI persons.