Workers should be banned from eating bacon sandwiches and sausage rolls to avoid offending Muslim and Jewish colleagues, a controversial report says.
Cocktail sausages would become contraband, pork pies sidelined, and boozy office parties reigned in in a bid to observe religious sensitivities, the study by a London-based professor of faith argues.
The rules would apply to shared spaces including microwaves, fridges and cutlery and crockery, which would all fall victim to tough new guidelines on what can be cooked in the workplace.
The suggestions, from a professor of faith at Goldsmiths, University of London, form part of a plan to help avoid awkward misunderstandings between colleagues.
Pork is forbidden under Islamic and Jewish law while alcohol is prohibited among Muslims.
Academic Adam Dinham, behind the report, said: “It would be good etiquette to avoid heating up foods that might be prohibited for people of other faiths.
“The microwaves example is a good one. We also say, don’t put kosher or halal and other special foods next to another food or, God forbid, on the same plate.
He said the British public had lost the ability to talk about religious belief “because of a century of secular assumptions, and most religious belief is either highly visible and we don’t recognise it, or it’s invisible and we miss it entirely”.
But critics have branded the idea “nonsense”.
Ukip MEP for the North East Jonathan Arnott said: “It’s exactly this kind of nonsense proposal that leads to segregation, misunderstanding and intolerance.”
The Muslim Council for Britain’s “good practice guide” for employers and employees advises staff to store and heat their food separately from other food.
It calls for a “mutually acceptable solution”, giving the example of different shelves clearly labelled for ‘vegetarian’, ‘meat’ and ‘pork’ food.