I’m sure many of you do not follow the employment case law. However, when it makes the six o’clock BBC news, it may be worth paying attention to.
Firstly, in case any of you have missed it, here are links to two articles about the said Employment Appeal Tribunal decision handed down today. The actual EAT judgement and a BBC article summarising it.
So, what are the implication for employers?
Well since the introduction of the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003 discimination of any employee on the basis of “any religion, religious belief, or philosophical belief” has been illegal. Religion and religious belief have been widely understood and consistently interpreteted, but philosophical belief is harder to define; and if you can’t define something, how can you prevent discrimination on the basis of it?
When the law was first introduced there were concerns about office banter over many a passionate belief – football teams for example. Employee A supports Local Team United and all other employees (and the boss) support Local Team City. Can office banter be deemed discriminatory if employee A is not promoted, not offered the same opportunities etc?
When is a political belief or a deep rooted way of life a philosophical belief protected in law?
How does this affect company policy on discrimination, bullying, harrassment and equality of opportunity?
This is a case which we should all now be watching.
Thoughts and experiences please.