This article argues that religious manifestation, like disability, requires an individual model of discrimination aimed at inclusivity rather than formal equality. It compares the current legal framework for assessing religious discrimination in the workplace (indirect discrimination) to the disability law framework (reasonable accommodation) and argues that while indirect discrimination is well suited to group discrimination, it does not lend itself to manifestation of belief which by nature requires a different form of equality that takes into account individual differences. The reasonable accommodation approach used for disability discrimination places a duty on the employer to take steps to remove any barriers preventing individuals from taking part in society, and as such, consists of treating individuals differently rather than aiming for strict/formal equality. We argue that the reasonable adjustment duty used in disability discrimination should now be extended to manifestation of belief in the employment sector.
This would encourage employers to proactively remove barriers faced by religious minorities whose religion or belief mandates a particular practice or dress code. As a result, an employer would be forced to take a pro-active approach to removing any barriers faced by religious minorities. In turn this may prevent individuals having to compromise between following their conscience or the rules set out by the employers.