Research Handbook on Law and Religion
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Research Handbook on Law and Religion

Edited by Rex Ahdar

Offering an interdisciplinary, international and philosophical perspective, this comprehensive Research Handbook explores both perennial and recent legal issues that concern the modern state and its interaction with religious communities and individuals.
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Chapter 17: Freedom of religion and the rise of secularism: struggles in the British workplace

Mark Hill QC


This chapter considers a particularly topical aspect of religion in the public square, namely the changing attitudes towards the space to be afforded to religion in the workplace and the increasing dominance, not of neutrality or plurality, but of an aggressive form of secularism. It examines concepts of autonomy for faith communicated in the context of the employment status of ministers of religion and explores changes to the concept of vicarious liability for the wrongful acts of ministers of religion, with particular regard to heightened concerns for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. Consideration is given to religious observance in the non-religious workplace with particular reference to Eweida v UK (2013) and other decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. Notwithstanding challenges for today’s legislators, judges and civil servants, the perceived struggles in the workplace between people of religious faith and secularists are probably more apparent than real.

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