Belief discrimination

Protection against discrimination in the Equality Act 2010 goes beyond safeguarding employees' religious beliefs to cover “philosophical beliefs” as well. Employees who hold a “philosophical belief” that meets the test set out in case law are protected against direct and indirect belief discrimination, harassment and victimisation because of their belief.

What constitutes a “philosophical belief” under the Equality Act 2010 is a matter of fact in each case. Employment tribunals will apply the test in Grainger plc v Nicholson, in which the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) set out five hurdles that must be jumped for a philosophical belief to come within the Equality Act 2010. The EAT found that a deeply held belief that “mankind is duty-bound to act on catastrophic climate change” was protected under the Equality Act 2010.


Marks and Spencer's food hall

Accommodating employees’ religious beliefs – should employers follow M&S’s example?

20 Jan 2014

The recent coverage of Marks & Spencer’s policy of allowing its members of staff to refuse to serve customers trying...

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The Labour Party Conference 2013. Photo: REX/Ray Tang

Labour party activist’s political views accepted as philosophical belief

10 Dec 2013

A Labour party activist has succeeded in having his political views recognised as a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010.

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Can anti-Semitism count as a ‘philosophical belief’ under the Equality Act 2010?

4 Jul 2013

An employment tribunal has judged that a teacher’s anti-Semitic views are not protected as a “philosophical belief” under the Equality...

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EHRC publishes guidance on religion and belief in the workplace following Eweida ruling

15 Feb 2013

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published new guidance on managing religion and belief in the workplace, in...

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How philosophical beliefs are protected against discrimination

26 Nov 2012

The recent case of Redfearn v The United Kingdom, which has in some places been abbreviated as the case of...

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Tribunal awards: which discrimination cases attract the biggest payouts?

12 Sep 2011

While the latest Employment Tribunal Service statistics show that the average tribunal awards for age discrimination claims nearly tripled in...

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Weekly dilemma: Religion or belief discrimination

6 Jul 2011

One of my non-religious employees has been distributing literature at work – and messages on our intranet – promoting an...

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Legal Opinion: Protection of philosophical belief under discrimination law

3 May 2011

In early 2011, employment tribunals held that an anti-fox hunting belief and a belief in the higher purpose of public...

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Ex-BBC worker can claim belief discrimination for views on broadcaster’s ‘higher purpose’

5 Apr 2011

An employment tribunal has held that a former BBC employee’s belief in the “higher purpose” of the broadcaster is a...

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Protected belief guidelines leave HR baffled

12 Mar 2010

HR professionals have been left bewildered as to what counts and does not count as a protected belief under the...

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Equality Bill guidance on protected beliefs ‘confusing’ for employers

10 Mar 2010

Employers are likely to be left confused as to what counts and does not count as a protected belief under...

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Environmentalism meets religion and belief criteria

29 Dec 2009

Grainger plc v Nicholson, Employmrnt Appeal Tribunal

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Legal opinion: Religious and philosophical beliefs

25 Nov 2009

Two recent EAT decisions have shed some light on what exactly constitutes a philosophical belief.

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Sacked police trainer not discriminated against for psychic beliefs

25 Nov 2009

A police employee who alleged he was sacked for believing psychics could solve crimes was not discriminated against, a tribunal...

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Spiritualist beliefs deemed religious in landmark ruling

19 Nov 2009

A former Greater Manchester Police officer has won a landmark case which says his spiritualist beliefs should be counted as...

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