Only one in three employers have a policy for dealing with issues arising from employees' religion or beliefs, yet the majority feel confident about their ability to manage related work-place issues.
While 55 per cent of public sector organisations have an explicit religious policy, just 30 per cent of private sectors have similar rules in place according to the latest research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
"How to treat the expression of religion or belief in the workplace is becoming a more pressing issue for employers as Britain becomes both a more multi-faith and secular society," commented CIPD diversity adviser Dianah Worman OBE.
She added: "Employers should ensure that they have a clear policy that both removes any possible forms of discrimination and enables staff to make a fully engaged contribution at work regardless of their religion or belief."
The 2003 regulations outlawing direct or indirect employment discrimination on grounds of religion or belief were cited by 23 per cent of employers as reason for their decision to introduce or change their policy.
The survey also found that 61 per cent of firms with such policies make time or facilities available for staff, while three quarters allow employees wishing to observe religious practices to take time off.