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PRESS INFORMATION - media enquiries to Sam Dabbs on 07711 672893

With Ramadan approaching this week, employers are being advised to consider ways to accommodate their Muslim workers.

Law firm DWF says some simple changes to the usual routine – such as allowing breaks at different times of the day – could lead to greater harmony in the workplace and help avoid charges of religious discrimination.

Ramadan this year takes place from 13 September to 11 October with Eid ul-Fitr, the celebration at the end of the holy month, on 12 October. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and pay particular attention to spiritual matters.

Jon Keeble, partner with DWF says firms should:

• look at special requests for annual or unpaid leave

• consider flexible working or changing shift rotas to accommodate breaking the fast

• consider allowing extra time off to pray, especially at sunset

• encourage gestures such as sending Eid cards, in a similar way to Christmas cards

• avoid organising social events during major religious festivals so as not to exclude Muslims

• consider allowing meal breaks at different times, for example lunch breaks at dusk to coincide with breaking the fast – and extending these to non-Muslim employees to encourage integration

• consider training staff on different religious events.

Keeble adds: “Employers do not have to allow time off or changes to the usual routine if it would adversely affect the business. However it is good practice to do so wherever possible and helps to generate goodwill. Accommodating religious practices does not mean allowing extra time off, but rather being flexible about employees’ existing holiday entitlement or break periods.

“Most employers are aware that discrimination on grounds of religion is against the law – but they should also ask themselves whether they are guilty of indirect discrimination. For example, always scheduling important meetings for dusk when Muslims are due to break their fast could fall into this category.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

DWF is one of the fastest growing regional law firms in the UK and has recently merged with Ricksons. With over 820 people based in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Preston, DWF provides a range of services grouped under the following practice areas:

Corporate
Banking & Finance
Business Recovery
Litigation
Real Estate
People
Insurance
Private Client

DWF has developed extensive sector-specific expertise in a number of areas including: automotive, education, food, retail & leisure, legal expenses and resourcing. Further information on DWF is available via www.dwf.co.uk

Media enquiries to:

Sam Dabbs
Dabbs PR & Marketing
T: 01939 210503 or 07711 672893
E: sam@dabbsprm.com

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