The ruling that an individual's view on climate change is capable of being a philosophical belief akin to religion
is most unwelcome for employers.
Unfortunately this was a mess waiting to happen following the poorly drafted 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations. The ambiguity in the law means that employers don't know who - or what - is protected from discrimination.
This ruling opens the door for abuse of the law and, regardless of whether the tribunal case is won or lost, raises the spectre of 'greenism' in the workplace.
Can an employee with strongly-held eco-beliefs refuse to fly on business, refuse to operate energy-guzzling equipment and expect abundant recycling facilities at work? And if the employer is not meeting his expectations does that amount to discrimination? It's one thing to ask not to be persecuted for your views, but quite another to rush to court when you feel they are not being taken seriously enough.
Taken to its fullest conclusion, the ruling may also mean that firms now have to think about environmental issues and sustainability in a different way, as to not risk 'upsetting' certain individuals. That would be a backward step.
And where does it stop? As one commentator pointed out,
people live their lives in all kinds of ways that, at a push, could be argued to be a 'philosophical belief'. How long before we see claims for veganism, pacifism or socialism?
The weight of discrimination law is already a heavy burden on employers, this latest ruling makes that burden increasingly intolerable.