Green martyr to get his day in court

Employers may care to be more wary about how they handle environmental martinets after a tribunal ruled that a man who claimed he was sacked because of his strong eco views could bring a case under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) regulations 2003.

Tim Nicholson was head of sustainability at residential landlord Grainger, but was made redundant last July. He claims that the main reason was his strong environmental beliefs, which led to clashes with senior executives at the company.

Although he said Grainger had a strong written environmental policy and used its eco-friendliness to attract recruits, he claimed its executives arrived at meetings in high-polluting vehicles. Nicholson was also worried about how many flights executives took. He told a pre-hearing review at a London tribunal that Grainger chief executive Rupert Dickinson “showed contempt for the need to cut carbon emissions by flying a member of the IT staff to Ireland to deliver his Blackberry that he [Dickinson] had left in London”.

Nicholson said his green beliefs affected every area of his life and he had “eco-renovated” his home, no longer flew, ate little meat and composted his food waste.

Grainger’s counsel, Harry Trory, argued that Nicholson’s views were based on fact and science and did not constitute a philosophical belief.

But tribunal chairman David Sneath ruled that Nicholson’s belief “goes beyond a mere opinion”, and said he could take his case forward. The tribunal was due to start on 4 June.

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