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Further extension to what qualifies as a philosophical belief

11 April 2011 #Employment


In Maistry v BBC the employment tribunal has ruled that a belief in the "higher purpose" of public sector broadcasting, to encourage debate and citizenship in a public space, is a philosophical belief that qualified for protection under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. The judge was influenced by the "strength of the claimant`s feelings" in this case. He commented that the Claimant`s belief was "clearly of great personal significance to him", given his experience of being a journalist during the apartheid.

However, is this a step too far? Should passion about ideas stemming from personal experience be deemed as equivalent to a religious belief and therefore qualify for protection in the courts?

The requirement for a belief to be "similar status or cogency to a religious belief" has gradually disappeared. This shift is not surprising, given the removal of the word `similar` from the regulations (previously the protection was for "religious belief or similar philosophical belief") . The regulations now cover "religious or philosophical belief". However, this leaves us in an uncertain situation, because there is nothing against which to measure philosophical belief. People are `passionate` about many different ideas!

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at employmentunit@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.

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