British government to investigate discrimination against Jews

CANTERBURY, England — The British government plans to investigate whether other Jews were denied employment benefits after an Orthodox Jew … Continued

CANTERBURY, England — The British government plans to investigate whether other Jews were denied employment benefits after an Orthodox Jew who refused to work on the Sabbath won a landmark appeal.

Jacob Slinger, a 19-year-old who lives in Greater Manchester, won an appeal against the Department of Works and Pensions after he’d been denied a jobseeker’s allowance of 56.80 pounds ($86.67) a week because he refused to work on Saturdays. He told the tribunal he had to rely on the generosity of his grandmother to survive.

After listening to his case, tribunal judge David Hewitt ordered the DWP to pay Slinger 1,500 pounds ($2,288) in benefits and called on other Jewish people who had been denied benefits to come forward.

Now the DWP plans to investigate, and a top legal rights lawyer believes it could lead to legal claims of religious discrimination from members of other religions.

Jason Coppel, a senior lawyer and an expert in human rights law, said in a statement:  ”If a job center policy is acted upon which queries Jews who cannot work on a Saturday, it could lead to legal claims of indirect discrimination on grounds of religious belief, contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Lawyers and social workers believe this is the first case of its kind in Britain — but probably not the last.

Regulations require job seekers to work for a minimum of 35 hours a week.

Slinger told the tribunal he was ready to work 53 hours a week, but not on the Sabbath.

“Mr. Slinger has demonstrated that, even within the restraints he has set himself, he has reasonable prospects of securing employment and he is both available for and actively seeking work,” wrote the judge. “If people have been turned down for these reasons then they should make an appeal to this tribunal.”

Ibrahim Mogra, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said Jews are right to appeal.

“We Muslims find that nearly all British companies make provisions for people with a religious mindset,” Mogra said.

Anil Bhanot, managing director of the Hindu Council UK, said his religion marked few religious events other than Diwali (the Festival of Lights) and that British companies often allowed the followers time off.

Like Jews, Seventh-day Adventists are distinguished by their observance of the Sabbath. Victor Hulbert, communications and media director of the Adventists in the U.K., said: “We support Mr. Slinger 100 percent.”

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

Comments are closed.

Read More Articles

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.