02 February 2011 #Employment
Former garden centre employee, Joe Hashman, thinks so and has sought to persuade the Employment Tribunal that it is.
Mr Hashman alleges he was dismissed from employment in September 2009 a day after covert video footage he filmed helped convict celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson Wright of attending an illegal hare coursing event. He claims his former employers are pro-hunting and that they sacked him for being an animal welfare activist. The garden centre denies his claims, insisting that his beliefs played no part in his dismissal and that he was dismissed because he was not making them enough money.
A Pre Hearing Review took place yesterday to determine whether his beliefs regarding fox hunting qualify as a philosophical belief under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003. Mr Hashman gave evidence that his belief affects every aspect of his life on a daily basis and that believing in animal rights means believing in the sanctity of all life. The Respondent`s lawyers disputed that views on animal rights and hunting can constitute a philosophical belief attracting protection under the Regulations.
The Tribunal reserved judgment on this issue, but a decision is expected within a few weeks. Employmentbuddy will of course provide an update at this time. If Mr Hashman`s argument is successful, the case could open the gates to a flood of similar claims from workers who believe they have been dismissed because of their beliefs on animal rights.