q What do employers need to know about prayer in the workplace? - Thrive Law
Prayer in the
Workplace

What do employers need to know about prayer in the workplace?

Employment Law, For Employers, Inclusion

As a Muslim student at a London school recently lost their High Court challenge against its ban on prayer rituals, we want to remind employers of their responsibilities around prayer in the workplace.

Acknowledging and accommodating prayer in the workplace is not only a matter of legal compliance under UK discrimination law, where religion or belief is regarded as a protected characteristic, it is also a cornerstone of fostering a culture of inclusivity and wellbeing.

How can progressive employers achieve this?

Progressive employers can demonstrate their commitment to religious inclusivity by considering the following:

Environment

✔ Provide a quiet, neutral space where employees of any faith—or none—can pray, meditate, or simply take a moment of quiet reflection during the workday.

TIP: Do not suggest they use the toilets!

Flexibility

✔ Adjust work schedules to accommodate prayer times, especially when they are fixed, as with Islamic prayer.

✔ Consider when additional prayer may be needed due to religious festivities too and where prayer times may change.

TIP: Flexibility can also extend to allowing time off for religious observances.

Education and awareness

✔ Promote awareness and understanding of different religious practices among all employees to enhance mutual respect and prevent potential conflicts.

TIP: Informative sessions, as well as including religious holidays and prayer times in company calendars, are practical steps towards this goal.

Policies

✔ Embed supportive measures into company policies. Think about dress codes, dietary requirements, use of prayer rooms, networking events and observance of religious holidays (are these booked as holiday or do you allow people to have religious days off?)

TIP: Regular internal communication, via the company intranet or newsletter, around policies and procedures such as these can help to keep them front and centre of employees’ minds.

Line managers

✔ Equip line managers with the skills and expertise they need to support employees of all faiths and deal with any issues fairly and with compassion as and when they arise.

TIP: Don’t assume a manager is able to handle every situation just because they are in a position of authority at this point—consider their needs along with all employees.

A commitment to diversity, inclusion, and wellbeing in the workplace transcends legal compliance, becoming a powerful statement of a progressive organisation’s values and ethos.

By actively supporting employees’ freedom to practise their religion—including prayer at work—progressive employers not only comply with the law but also create a work environment where everyone can be their best and truest selves.

At Thrive, we can provide training and advice to help you manage religion and prayer in the workplace, along with a range of other ED&I issues. Visit our Training page to find out more.

Are you an employee worried about this issue? We wrote about religious worship in the workplace from the perspective of employees here.

Disclaimer

Please note this blog is for reference purposes only and is only accurate at which the date it was published. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any actions. Please contact us if you have any questions on enquiries@thrivelaw.co.uk.

This blog was prepared with assistance from Generative AI.

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