21 June 2013


Members might be interested in the excellent Pluri-Legal, an e-mail discussion group on JISC mail.

The group 'is devoted to issues regarding the legal accommodation of cultural, ethnic and religions minorities in Europe.' It's often the site of informed and invigorating exchanges. 

You can join by going to:www.jiscmail.ac.uk/PLURI-LEGAL

The following articles were recently circulated: 

Asking about reasonable accommodation in England

Interviews conducted with leading actors in England asking a range of questions about religious diversity and the legal framework and, in particular, about reasonable accommodation, helped identify a number of areas of concern. There was some doubt about whether specific legal provision should be brought in to guarantee reasonable accommodation. However, there was broad support for having the principle adopted in the practice of employers, whereas some preferred the current informality rather than the principle being enforced through litigation. None of the respondents came up with illustrations outside Judaism, Christianity or Islam. The results are consistent with recent critical studies showing that the assumption in social sciences that religion is a universal has been imported from theology. Religion-based questions only pick out certain phenomena specific to some cultures and an inevitable skew is created when asking such questions because they make sense only within an Abrahamic religious framework. Although enabling the identification of some aspects of culture considered to merit reasonable accommodation on the grounds of religion, the results also pose questions about the adequacy of current standard research methodologies which assume that religion is a universal.

See link here for article (subscription required for journal): http://jdi.sagepub.com/content/early/recent

Accommodating religious claims in the Dutch workplace: Unacknowledged Sabbaths, objecting marriage registrars and pressured faith-based organizations

This article analyses religious claims in the workplace arising from tensions related to religious diversity in the Netherlands. On the basis of interviews with leaders in the religious, political and public sectors, we look at the perception of such tensions and discuss the feasibility of accommodating them. Our study distinguishes between the individual cluster (private and public sectors) and the collective cluster. In the former our respondents argue that individual religious employees in the private sector are not under pressure; rather, there is strong support for these individuals to act in accordance with their religious beliefs. When it concerns public employment, however, religious civil servants do seem to be under pressure in the Netherlands; secular respondents argue that civil servants are part of the state apparatus and therefore have no right to make direct or indirect distinctions on the basis of their personal beliefs. In the collective cluster, we found that associational freedoms for religious organizations and faith-based organizations have also come under secularist pressure; non-discrimination is often invoked as the supreme principle, trumping associational autonomy. These observations suggest a shift in the Dutch tradition of governing religious diversity and portend its significant impact on the position of religious employees in the Netherlands.

See link here for article (subscription required for journal): http://jdi.sagepub.com/content/early/recent

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