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Are your ‘beliefs’ protected?

Posted
February 12, 2020
Business Law

Over the last few months, we have seen a couple of really interesting cases on the extent to which people are protected from discrimination because of their beliefs. But which beliefs are worthy of protection and which are not? The answer to this question can prove difficult to predict.

‘Veganism’

In the case of Casamitjana v The League Against CruelSports, the claimant won an important victory in front of the NorwichEmployment Tribunal, convincing Employment Judge Robin Postle that his belief in ‘ethical veganism’ was worthy of protection under the Equality Act2010. He must now prove that his dismissal was actually a result of his beliefs; his employers argue that he was dismissed for gross misconduct!

‘Gender is immutable’

In contrast, the case of Forstater v CGD Europe concerned a tax expert whose contract of employment was not renewed after she posted various messages on Twitter, voicing her opinion on the extent to which people can ‘self-identify’ as a gender different from that into which they were apparently born.  When this case was heard by the London CentralEmployment Tribunal, Employment Judge Tayler concluded that the claimant’s beliefs were not protected by the Equality Act 2010. The views were found to be “incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others “. As a result, they were not worthy of respect in a democratic society, which is one of the established requirements for a belief to be protected under discrimination legislation.

So what?

This is an interesting area of employment law, which is ripe for further development. If you would like to discuss the issues in more detail, please get in touch.  We will also be covering these cases at our upcoming employment law seminar on 24th March 2020.

Email us at employment@stevensdrake.com to reserve your place.  

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