Religious ethos and employment equality: a comparative Irish perspective
Author: Coen, Mark
Source: Legal Studies, Volume 28, Number 3, September 2008 , pp. 452-474(23)
Abstract:This paper addresses, from a comparative perspective, the legal position of the lay employees of religious institutions such as schools and hospitals. The legal regimes governing ‘ethos’ in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain are compared. The tension which exists between the right of religious schools and hospitals to uphold their ethos in a secular society on the one hand, and the rights of their employees to privacy and personal autonomy on the other, is highlighted. It will be argued that legislative reform is required to remove uncertainty from the lives of lay employees of religious institutions who work conscientiously but fear dismissal or discrimination because an aspect of their lifestyle – usually their sexuality – is considered unorthodox by their employer. The need for a change in judicial attitudes and a lessening of deference towards the actions of religious denominations is also a theme throughout.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2008