Toleration of religious discrimination in employment
in The culture of toleration in diverse societies

This chapter explores an apparent tension between the idea of toleration and the idea of equal opportunity. It outlines the key 'civil interests' in thinking about the issue of employment discrimination. The chapter explains why a concern for these civil interests might plausibly be thought to support a general prohibition of religiously-motivated employment discrimination. It argues that the freedom of religious associations to discriminate in employment should be limited by two principles. The first principle is that the discrimination should be on religion-relevant grounds. The second principle is that discrimination should apply only to a restricted range of jobs that have a sufficiently central relationship to the religious activities of the association. The chapter discusses the tricky question of how this principle might be operationalised, and argues that the centrality principle is by itself a sufficient limitation on the freedom of religious associations to discriminate in employment.

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