Stonewall has released new guidance for employers on how to deal with tensions arising between religion and sexual orientation in the workplace.

The guide is designed to provide “essential advice” on how to avoid conflicts which can arise at work.

Funded by the Equality & Human Rights Commission, it examines the legal position of employers and the need for organisational clarity.

Case studies from a range of sectors demonstrate how employers can accommodate the needs of both sides in any disagreement, alongside lessons learned from each case.

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: “We recognise that there are still some tensions between people of faith and the 1.7 million gay people in the British workplace. By preparing for difficult situations, employers can manage potential conflicts with confidence.”

He added: “While the 500 employers who are members of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme tell us that such conflicts are rare, employers also tell us that they’re less confident about preventing and responding to such incidents than they are other to forms of dispute.

“Recent YouGov polling found that people of faith in Britain are no more likely to be prejudiced against lesbian and gay people than anyone else. Happily, many people of faith don’t have any problem working, living, socialising or praying with lesbian, gay and bisexual people. This guide will help with the small minority who do.”

‘Religion and Sexual Orientation – How to manage relations in the workplace’ can be downloaded free from http://www.stonewall.org.uk/workplace/3442.asp