Working on the Sabbath: City of Oxford Bus Services Ltd v Harvey


In The City of Oxford Bus Services Ltd (t/a Oxford Bus Company) v Harvey [2018] UKEAT 0171 18 2112, the Company employed Mr Harvey, a Seventh Day Adventist, as a bus driver. Drivers were required to work on five out of seven days each week, including on Fridays and Saturdays but Mr Harvey, as an Adventist, was obliged to respect the Sabbath by not working between sunset on a Friday and sunset on a Saturday.

When Mr Harvey originally applied for the job, the application form had not asked about his religion or about any restrictions on his ability to work; and though the Company had a document that explained its rostering system and that drivers would work five days out of seven, including either Saturday or Sunday, it was not shown to Mr Harvey at any point during the application and interview process [4]. Though he explained at his interview that he was an Adventist, what that would mean in terms of his ability to work was not explored [5]. The Company made a temporary accommodation for him but refused to make it permanent [11] and, in the end, he went to an Employment Tribunal arguing unjustified indirect religious discrimination [16].
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