In a landmark judgment on the protection against discrimination for holding and expressing ‘gender critical’ beliefs – that sex is a material reality and should not be conflated with gender identity – the Central London Employment Tribunal has upheld claims for direct belief discrimination and victimisation by Maya Forstater against her former employer, the Center for Global Development, and its President, Masood Ahmed.
The Tribunal found that the Respondents decided not to offer Ms Forstater full employment and not to renew her Visiting Fellowship because of her gender critical beliefs. The Tribunal rejected the Respondents’ case that Ms Forstater had expressed her beliefs on Twitter in a way that was unacceptable and that this was the reason for the Respondent’s decisions. The Tribunal made clear, amongst other things, that:
The result in this case is therefore a timely reminder for employers that in a democratic society, tolerance of heterodox views is important, and the religion and belief provisions of the Equality Act 2010 offer protection to employees and workers not only to hold any lawful beliefs but also to engage in public debate about them. Employers cannot simply pick and choose which beliefs they will allow their employees to hold or express. If they do seek to limit or censure employees for expressing particular beliefs, they will need to be able to demonstrate a clear justification for doing so which is properly separable from the belief or its legitimate expression in a democratic society.
The full judgment can be found here.
Maya Forstater’s press release can be found here.
William Meade (Senior Clerk)