Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In the important case of Grainger plc and others v Nicholson EAT/0219/09 the Employment Appeal Tribunal clarified the test as to what amounts to a ‘philosophical belief’ for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010

The facts of Grainger plc & ors v Nicholson 

Mr Nicholson was made redundant and subsequently brought claims for unfair dismissal as well as religion and belief discrimination against his former employer, Grainger plc. Mr Nicholson argued that his belief about climate change and the environment was not simply an opinion, but constituted a philosophical belief under the relevant legislation (then the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, now the Equality Act 2010; he said that his particular beliefs (that “mankind is heading towards catastrophic climate change and therefore we are all under a moral duty to lead our lives in a manner which mitigates or avoids this catastrophe for the benefit of future generations, and to persuade others to do the same”) influenced how he travelled, how he decided what to buy, eat, and drink, and what he did with his waste produced.

Grainger plc sought to strike Mr Nicholson’s claim out, arguing that the belief that he was asserting was not sufficient to constitute a ‘philosophical belief’.

The Employment Tribunal’s decision

An Employment Tribunal held that it would not strike Mr Nicholson’s claim out and that his claim could proceed, as the Tribunal found that his belief amounted to a ‘philosophical belief’ under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.

Grainger plc appealed against the decision of the Employment Tribunal, arguing the Employment Tribunal had not correctly applied the law on philosophical beliefs.

The decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal

The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed Grainger plc’s appeal, holding that the Tribunal had correctly examined whether Mr Nicholson’s belief was capable of constituting a philosophical belief for the purposes of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003; the EAT did, however, hold that the Tribunal had erred in not considering whether Mr Nicholson genuinely held this philosophical belief, and that Mr Nicholson should give evidence and be cross-examined on such.

The EAT went on to clarify the legal test for a philosophical belief – in order to be a philosophical belief within the legislation (now the Equality Act 2010), it must:

  • be genuinely held
  • be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available
  • be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour
  • attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance; and
  • be worthy of respect in a democratic society and not incompatible with human dignity or in conflict with the fundamental rights of others

Our employment solicitors’ comments

Chris Hadrill, a partner in the employment department at Redmans, commented on the case: “The case of Grainger plc & ors v Nicholson is an important precedent in the field of employment law, as it has laid down a yet-unchallenged benchmark as to how a philosophical belief is supposed to be evaluated.”


Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk.

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk


4.64 Average

28 Reviews


Excellent service from initial contact to deliverables.

Posted 4 days ago

Virginia K

Yes, Chris Hadrill answered all my questions and I feel more confident with my current situation

Posted 4 days ago


Chris Hadrill was referred to me my a friend of mine. I found the service to be efficient, quick and like Chris's direct approach to my work. Well done and thank you Chris!

Posted 6 days ago

Andy W

Very prompt & structured service that helped put my mind at rest at a difficult time

Posted 1 week ago


I have found Redmans to be very helpful, diligant and thoroughly professional when dealing with them, plus they gone that extra mile for me !

Posted 3 weeks ago


Thank you to Chris Hadrill at Redmans for his assistance in settling my case. I contacted him at the very last minute and he was happy to help me and managed to get everything done on time and in a very professional manner. I will definitely be happy to work with him again .

Posted 1 month ago

Redman's provided excellent legal employment advice for me during a difficult time in my employment. Chris was my lawyer, super efficient, quick, reliable and clearly very experienced in the matter. Could not ask for a better law firm to deal with your query if you are in need of some help. Would definitely use them again in the future. Highly recommending Chris.

Posted 4 months ago


Chris Hadrill was very professional and responsive. I would highly recommend him

Posted 4 months ago


Very Efficient, with very quick email reply’s. I had a matter that needed resolving within a very short space of time and Redmans Solicitors were great with dealing with my matter quickly.

Posted 4 months ago


At Redmans the solicitor that was dealing with me was Chris. He dealt with my situation smoothly with clear guidance and explanation

Posted 5 months ago


Clear, concise advice and guidance delivered by an experienced and very capable solicitor, within the timelines required

Posted 5 months ago


Very efficient service. I never had to wIt for more than a day for a reply to any of my queries and the matter was dealt with swiftly.

Posted 5 months ago


Very timely, thorough and helpful advice. Friendly and considerate of the needs of the client

Posted 5 months ago


Very prompt and attention to detail. Thank you for the service

Posted 5 months ago


Couldn’t be happier with how Redmans successfully handled our seemingly tricky case. By being clear and detailed every step of the way, with the utmost professionalism and courtesy, they made it an informative and eye-opening process, taking the stress out of the situation and ultimately delivered what you would want from such a service. I fully appreciate everything they have done, and if I am ever in need of such services in the future, they will be the first number I contact. Excellent.

Posted 5 months ago


Excellent work delivered with great quality

Posted 5 months ago


Chris Hadrill was a great help both in terms of his advice and his expertise. He explained my options to me clearly and concisely enabling me to quickly make the right decision for me in the circumstance. I would not hesitate to recommend Chris or Redmans to friends or colleagues, and would certainly make Redmans my first port of call should I require a similar service in the future.

Posted 5 months ago


Redmans gave excellent advice and helped me understand everything in clear concepts. Thank you!

Posted 5 months ago


Resolved my issues

Posted 5 months ago


Quick fast professional service.

Posted 5 months ago


"Prompt, efficient and practical advice that resulted in me getting some additional money tax free."

Posted 5 months ago