It is not a comprehensive guide, it is not more of a normative document that lays down the rules or prohibitions for companies and it is not a text with any legal value.
For the ministry of Labour, which broadcasts Monday, November 7, guide practice of religion in private companies, it is first and foremost a “vade-mecum for the use of the employee and/or the HR manager who would ask some concrete questions”.
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questions to which the official document answers, referring of course to the existing legal framework.This guide should evolve over a period of months according to new questions.
Because the rule is simple, and the government forcefully repeat: “a private company does not have to be neutral, nor governed by any secularism. The rule is, and remains, the religious freedom”, says on rue de Grenelle. But, sometimes, the reality on the ground requires some adjustments.
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Thus, according to a recent study conducted by Randstad, the presence of religion in the company would be in a “net increase”. However, many HRD and business leaders argue that this question is not central. The CGPME has recalled Monday 7 November in a press release, that “in the vast majority of VSES/ SMES, the religious fact is not a current concern”. The employers ‘ organisation welcomes, however, the initiative to make available a handy guide that will enable business leaders to navigate.
This guide, submitted to the representatives of the cults Monday, 7 November, and previously sent to the social partners, should be put online on the website of the ministry of Labour in mid-November. Business leaders and employees who are willing – because the document is built in a mirror can refer to it daily. Hiring in the organisation of the working time, here are ten concrete examples, detailed in the guide.
1. “During a job interview, and then I ask the candidate(e) his religion? If he (she) is active in the church? “
NO. The guide is very clear on this point and states that “only the information required to assess the ability of the candidate to occupy the job offered or his professional skills may be requested in the course of the interview. Religion and its practice does not need to be requested.”
2. “Invoking a ground of a religious, an employee refuses to obey the orders of her superior because she is a woman. Can I punish it ?”
YES. “The refusal of the employee to perform a task for which he was hired is constitutive of a fault that may result in a disciplinary penalty regardless of the reason that he invokes has a religious character,” says the guide. This is in addition to any act of gender prohibited by the labour code (article L. 1142-2-1).
3. “Can I punish an employee who is absent without leave to celebrate a religious holiday?”
YES. “The employee(e) is absent, without permission, for any reason commits a foul. Attention, however, the proportionality of the punishment, ” warns the guide. It will take account of the context, including the consequences of this absence for other employees, or customers of the company, the exceptional character or repeating this behaviour.” For example, if an employee does not then the leave of absence has been denied, may be punished.
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4. “Can I coerce a(e) employee(e) to participate in a business meal, so that he does not desire because of its forbidden food ?”
YES and NO. “If the participation of this (this) employee(e) is part of his work, you can demand his presence. On the other hand, you may not require that he (she) eats the meal”. The guide suggests the head of the company, whether it is organising a meal, ensure “upstream of any dietary requirements of the people present.”
5. “Am I required to include a provision imposing the religious neutrality of employees in the internal regulations of my company ?”
NO. “The religious neutrality imposed on public officials, does not apply to employees of private companies that do not manage a public service. You can, however, under conditions regulated by the law, introduce certain restrictions up to the registration of religious neutrality in the rules of procedure.” It is indeed a novelty brought by the law of Work (article L1321-1-2), which gives the employer the faculty to include this concept in the rules of procedure provided that it is “justified” by the context of the business and that it is “proportionate to the objective sought”.
6. “Can I prohibit employees to manifest their religion in the company?”
NO, BUT. ,”employees may freely manifest their religion, advance the guide. However, the requirements related to the health, safety or the necessities of the task at hand can lead you to make provisions having the effect of limiting this freedom.” These restrictions can be listed in the rules of procedure if this is justified by the exercise of other fundamental rights and freedoms or necessities for smooth running of the business.” Again, these limitations must therefore be proportionate, justified and in accordance with the law.
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The guide also suggests not to do it “after a consultation in the business.” the limit to religious freedom is, according to the terms of the guide, “proselytism”.
7. “Can I prohibit my employees to install a menorah or a crucifix in their work space?”
HAVE SEE. ,”employees may be authorized to dispose of personal items including religious, in their work space, provided it does not cause a cloudy lens in the business. Thus the answer may vary depending on whether the employee has a single office or not or works or not in a space where it receives from the customer.”
8. “Can I require my employees that they are participating in a religious event that I organize in the company?” That may all be present at the feast of Christmas, for example?”
NO. “You can’t require that they participate in. Forcing an(e) employee(e)to participate in such an event constitutes an unjustified infringement of personal liberty.” the guide to note an exception: if participation in this event falls under the duties of the person, if it must ensure the security, for example.
9. “The works council can fund projects to scope-denominational? As a pilgrimage to Lourdes?”
YES, BUT. “Nothing prohibits it, advance the guide. However, the enterprise committee (EC) is also subject to the principle of non-discrimination. It must therefore be taken to balance the benefits offered to all employees, to draw, to have equal access regardless of their religion, and that funded projects can meet the largest number of employees.” The guide insists a lot on the necessary equal treatment of the employees and of the various religions.
10. “Can I/do I have to adjust the schedules of work in my business in terms of religious practices ? And then I decide not to do the work my employees on Friday night during Shabbat?”
YES. “the organisation of The working time falls within the management power of the employer. It is up to you to define schedules adapted to the proper operation of the company. You can arrange the times according to the constraints of the employees. But the law you do not”, concluded the guide.