Spiritualist beliefs deemed religious in landmark ruling

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

Alan Power, 62, was sacked in October 2008 because, he claims, he believed psychics were able to contact people after their deaths and help inform investigations.

He said his beliefs stem from “ghosts” he saw during his childhood.

An employment tribunal has rejected an appeal from the police authority which says his beliefs do not amount to religious views, reports Police Professional.

A ruling on whether Power was unfairly dismissed is scheduled for November 23.

At a previous hearing, a judge ruled that Power’s views were “capable of being religious beliefs” and were therefore covered by the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.

Mark Hill QC from the Greater Manchester Police Authority said the ruling could open the “floodgates” for a series of similar claims.

Earlier this month, Personnel Today reported how Tim Nicholson, head of sustainability at property firm Grainger, claimed his environmental beliefs were the reason behind a decision to make him redundant from the firm in 2008.

At a pre-hearing review, the judge found in Nicholson’s favour, and said environmentalism had the same weight in law as religious and philosophical beliefs.

Nicholson will now be allowed to bring a tribunal case for unfair dismissal against his employer.

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