Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Mackereth v (1) The Department for Work and Pensions (2) Advanced Personnel Management Group (UK) Ltd (ET/1304602/2018) an Employee’s discrimination claim’s failed in the Employment Tribunal when it held the right to manifest a religion or belief is subject to the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The factual background in Mackereth v The Department for Work and Pensions & anor

Dr Mackereth (the ‘Claimant’) was a Christian.  The Claimant was recruited by Advanced Personnel Management Group (the ‘Second Respondent’) on 29 May 2018 to act as a Health and Disabilities Assessor for the Department for Work and Pensions (the ‘First Respondent’).  He was contracted to assess individuals on behalf of the First Respondent who were contemplating, undergoing or had undergone gender reassignment.

As part of his religious beliefs the Claimant did not believe that a person could change their gender at will.  He believed in the truth of the bible and, in particular, the truth of Genesis 1:27: ‘male and female He created them’.  He did not believe that “impersonating” the opposite sex could be beneficial to an individual’s welfare, or that society should accommodate and/or encourage anyone’s impersonation of the opposite sex.

As a result, he refused to refer to a client using the pronoun of their choice as required by the Second Respondent.  It was explained to him that this was a breach of the Second Respondent’s policy and would mean that he could not undertake customer-facing work, which was fundamental to his role.  The Claimant confirmed again that he would not be willing or able to comply with the Second Respondent’s policy and was consequently suspended and ultimately sacked. 

He brought various claims of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the Employment Tribunal.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal (ET)

There was no dispute in the ET that Christianity was a protected characteristic.  However, the Claimant attempted to argue that his beliefs were also protected as religious and/or philosophical beliefs under The Equality Act.  He argued that the pressure placed on him to renounce his belief, his suspension from work and summary dismissal were acts of harassment and less favourable treatment.

The Respondent’s argued that his particular beliefs in transgenderism were incompatible with human dignity and were in conflict with the fundamental human rights of transgender individuals and as a result were not protected as religious or philosophical beliefs under discrimination legislation.

The ET accepted that the Claimant did genuinely hold the religious beliefs he asserted (belief in Genesis 1:27, lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism) and that his right to hold those beliefs was protected. However, the right to manifest a religion or belief is subject to the protection of the rights and freedoms of others and the manner in which he chose to manifest those beliefs (refusing to refer to a transgender person by their chosen pronouns, titles or styles) would constitute unlawful discrimination or harassment under the Equality Act 2010.

The Claimant’s lack of belief that ‘impersonating the opposite sex’ might be beneficial for an individual’s welfare and/or that society should accommodate and/or encourage it, did not reach the necessary threshold for protection under employment law.

The ET also held that any person who refused to follow the policy would have been treated in the same way as Dr Mackereth.  Therefore, the treatment was not because of his beliefs and there was no less favourable treatment on religious grounds and no discrimination.  With regards to the Claimant’s claim of indirect discrimination, the ET held that even if the Second Respondent applied a provision, criteria or practice (‘PCP’) that put people with the Claimant’s beliefs at a disadvantage, the treatment would have been justified as a proportionate means of meeting the aim of promoting equality of opportunity.

Consequently, all of Dr Mackereth’s discrimination claims failed.

Our solicitors’ views on the case of Mr Mackereth v The Department for Work and Pensions & anor

Sacha Barrett, a Senior Associate in the employment department at Redmans, made the following comment on the case: ‘This case demonstrates the balancing act the Courts are required to do with regards to employee’ s rights to manifest their religion or belief whilst at the same time trying to protect the dignity of others.’

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Mr Mackereth v (1) The Department for Work and Pensions (2) Advanced Personnel Management Group (UK) Ltd (ET/1304602/2018) can be found here.

About

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. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    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

    Testimonials

    4.77 Average

    210 Reviews

    Cristina G

    Very professional and reliable. Timely answers, clear and to the point. Always looking for the best for their customers.

    Posted 2 hours ago

    Rob T

    Very professional and on target - highly recommended.

    Posted 2 days ago

    Anonymous

    Very efficient service and knowledgeable solicitors.

    Posted 2 days ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent response time from first contact. Quick and easy completion of documents required. Fast response to any queries I made.

    Posted 3 days ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans Solicitors did a great job and were very professional at all times. Would definitely recommend.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Gary P

    All good advice, prompt and efficient

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent advice and customer service.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Aneet G

    I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Fern M

    Very efficient and friendly

    Posted 3 months ago

    Neville S

    A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Daniel T

    Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

    Posted 3 months ago

    Paul T

    Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Marina E

    Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Rosa B

    Fabulous service all round.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Alkhas K

    Excellent service.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Mathias G

    Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

    Posted 4 months ago

    Mark W

    Most professional from start to finish offering very a personal service. Most impressive and quick when dealing with the matters in hand.

    Posted 5 months ago

    Anonymous

    Posted 5 months ago

    submit

    I am very glad I came across Redmans Solicitors. Fantastic service!

    Posted 5 months ago

    Anonymous

    Fantastic communication, always happy to answer queries, highly recommended.

    Posted 5 months ago