A busy case week for those of us with specialty advising on philosophical belief discrimination. Neither case below is landmark, but they are good reminders of already established case precedents.

Meade v Westminster City Council

First we had the Meade v Westminster City Council decision in relation to the expression of gender critical beliefs on Facebook posts.

The key takeaway in Meade is that it’s important to consider the way in which protected beliefs are manifested and err on the side of caution when considering taking action against an employee where this is done outside of the workplace. I’m advising a few organisations on similar facts at the moment; it’s important to take appropriate legal advice before rushing into disciplinary action that may have costly consequences both in reputation and due to litigation. If I can assist your business in discussing a similar scenario, please do get in touch.

Holbrook v Cosgrove and Ors

We’ve also had the decision in Holbrook v Cosgrove and Ors where the EAT has upheld the first instance Tribunal decision that it was not just and equitable to extend the time limit for a belief discrimination claim where the claim was submitted out of time and only following the EAT’s decision in Forstater v CGD Europe and Ors. The Appeal Tribunal rejected the Appellant’s argument that the Forstater decision was a ‘game-changer’ and consequently improved his prospects of succeeding in a claim he should have otherwise submitted within the three-months less one day time limits on the basis Forstater simply restated long-established legal principles. Further, in any event, the EAT found the first instance Tribunal was correct to consider that, even if Forstater was a ‘game changer’ as alleged, the Appellant would still have no reasonable explanation (his preoccupation with BSB proceedings, where no work on his behalf was required during the period in question, was not sufficient) for not submitting his claim within limitation.

In my view, one of the most interesting parts of this Judgment was the consideration as to the balance of prejudice at paragraph 98. The would-be Claimant relied on the potential value of his claim, which he estimated to be in the region of £3,000,000 and the case’s importance in the context of free speech. The EAT remarked that, “…the absolute value of a claim does not increase the relative prejudice to a particular Claimant of not being able to pursue it. A manual worker who loses his modest salary as a result of a discriminatory termination is no less prejudiced by losing the right to bring a claim than a highly paid professional.”

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