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.”

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

    4.78 Average

    268 Reviews

    Anonymous

    Redmans Solicitors were consistently prompt, efficient and professional from the start of my reaching out to them for support in relation to contentious negotiations of an employment matter that continued for almost two months resulting in a positive settlement agreement. Chris Hadrill was diligent, thorough, empathetic and objective in his advice and guidance, showing deep and broad knowledge of the law and legal processes plus extensive practical experience in handling complex matters, resulting in clear and pragmatic advice in ambiguous circumstances that resulted in a very good outcome. I fully recommend Chris Hadrill and Redmans Solicitors! I have made this review anonymous purely because of the confidentiality obligations in the settlement agreement concluded.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Michelle W

    Redmans solicitors provided legal support and advice for a settlement agreement. Excellent customer service, very professional. The senior associate solicitor kept me updated throughout the process, showed empathy and the agreement was signed-off / completed within the agreed timeline.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Mark W

    Redmans Solicitors were extremely professional and helpful! Chris Hadrill handled my case and was an amazing help! His guidance, advice and understanding to my redundancy settlement were always clear, concise and very helpful and I am very grateful to him, and glad I found Redmans to help with my settlement. I highly recommend them!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Alison M

    Very happy with the advice I received

    Posted 1 month ago

    Margaret A

    I found everything about the company to be extremely professional and efficient. During my initial contact with Chris, he listened well and was reassuring, so I felt confident that my case would be well handled. Caroline was excellent at explaining all the legal points and answering my questions, as well as being very supportive and understanding throughout the process. I would definitely recommend this company.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sanja K

    Very efficient and professional service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found the advice I was given by Redmans Solicitors to be clear and useful and found the solicitor on my case to be both knowledgeable and approachable.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karen T

    Great service. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service from Chris & Mel Chin. The best outcome was achieved from the redundancy process. They were extremely thorough, listened carefully and acted swiftly on my behalf. I highly recommend Redmans Solicitors

    Posted 1 month ago

    Shanine M

    Excellent service, thank you so much!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found Caroline and Chris very Helpful and provided excellent service. Caroline especially provided great legal advice and made me feel at ease with the whole process. I would highly recommend them. Thank you!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Gayle B

    Excellent company very professional would definitely recommend

    Posted 1 month ago

    Alex K

    Redmans provided an excellent service, timely and effective. Will definitely recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Great job done on my employment law

    Posted 1 month ago

    Dominica S

    Caroline & Chris were very prompt and efficient.Very happy with the service and will definitely recommend Redmans Solicitor to everyone !

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sandra K

    If you are looking for a group of solicitors who are Professional, Caring and on point, then look no futher than Redmans. I was literally hand held through out my case. Can not find fault with this company, very happy with the result and the service i received. Would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found dealing with Redmans a pleasure. I got to speak to someone quickly, the advice was profferred promplty and the service was not 'pushy'. In addition, the administration was excellent. What more could you ask for?

    Posted 1 month ago

    ALISDAIR L

    Redmans did a brilliant job regarding my redundancy agreement. I miss read an extra charge which wasnt the case so doing a new review to clarify. I would recommend Redmans for any employment law issues you may have.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Christos G

    Great legal advice and quick correspondence. Very supportive and helpful through the entire process. Thank you Redmans!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Chris Hadrill advised me on a redundancy settlement agreement. He was very responsive, easy to deal with and gave me good advice at a stressful time.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Zara M

    Rana at Redmans gave me support and confidence I needed to ensure a wrong, was put right. I couldn’t recommend enough.

    Posted 1 month ago