No 144 The Fair Employment and Treatment Order (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015
The Regulations, as of 6/4/15, amend Article 70(3) of the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 to comply with an EU Pilot investigation concerning the transposition of Council Directive 2000/78/EC in Northern Ireland.
The Directive establishes a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation on grounds of disability, sexual orientation, religion and belief and age. The Regulations substitute paragraph (3) of Article 70 of the 1998 Order to ensure that the exception requiring a job to be done by a person holding, or not holding, a particular religious belief fully complies with Article 4 of the Directive. Article 4 of the Directive allows Member States to include a provision in implementing legislation stating that it is lawful to set a discriminatory criterion that is a genuine and determining occupational requirement, provided that the objective is legitimate and the requirement is proportionate. The new substituted paragraph (3) disapplies Part III (discrimination in the employment field) and Part V (other unlawful acts) of the 1998 Order, so far as they relate to discrimination on the ground of religious belief, in cases where a person’s religious belief constitutes an occupational requirement, the application of which is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.