You may or may not be aware that Ramadan started on 6th June. As an employer you should be sensitive to any Muslim staff during this period especially given that they may be fasting.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees on the grounds of their religion or belief. Therefore any less favourable treatment towards Muslim employees as a result of Ramadan and their religious beliefs is likely to lead to claims of discrimination.
The best way to ensure fairness, equality and balance during this period is to maintain communication with employees. What are the requirements to support the observance within the workplace that also do not adversely impact on productivity? Consultation can to be key to answer this question.
Respect and sensitivity are paramount so food and drink fuelled events are going to place those observing Ramadan in an uncomfortable position. It may be that these are held outside of the Ramadan period to avoid anyone feeling uninvolved and ostracised.
Ensure that all staff members are aware of the religious period and that they are sensitive to those that may be fasting.
Would a flexible working approach be more effective during this period for Muslim employees? It may be possible to implement temporary shift arrangements purely to accommodate fasting. If the measure is clearly not being implemented on a permanent basis you can avoid other employees claiming disparity of treatment.
Try not to use disciplinary action as a first port of call during this period if productivity slides due to an employee fasting. Perhaps reasonable adjustments would be more appropriate and maintain an open dialogue with any affected staff. You are therefore minimalising the risk of discrimination claims.
Consider whether you need a policy dealing with Ramadan and also for the Eid-al-Fitr period of celebration that follows thereafter. If you have unprecedented annual leave requests from Muslim staff these need to be managed fairly and justly – any rejection of a request must be accompanied by a robust business case.