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 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

Testimonials

4.78 Average

143 Reviews

Liz P

An excellent professional service was provided by Chris Hadrill and Mel Chin. Efficient and trustworthy - would highly recommend this company.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Redmans Solicitors were great. They were able to advice me quickly and efficiently! I would recommend them, as a good solicitors to use.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Extremely efficient. Mel made a difficult situation bearable and gave good clear guidance thoughout.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Thanks Chris and Sacha I was reassured throughout the process and a happy outcome

Posted 2 weeks ago

Edward F

Good and clear employment advice

Posted 2 weeks ago

Richard O

Chris at Redmans is my go-to legal expert when it comes to employee-related matters. His depth of knowledge, experience and considered approach to problems and their solutions is highly valuable. I cannot recommend Redmans highly enough.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Rory Y

They provide me with timely and clear advice!

Posted 4 weeks ago

Steven C

Redmans handled my settlement with my employer quickly, decisively and to a standard that I was very happy with. I would in similar circumstances contract them again

Posted 4 weeks ago

Deepthi K

Transparent. Clear communication. Prompt reply’s. Saves lot of time. Very satisfied.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris and Sacha did a fantastic job and negotiated a significant better settlement agreement

Posted 4 weeks ago

Dino D

I did get a very swift and god service from Redmans

Posted 4 weeks ago

Stephanie H

Clear, prompt, effective support from Chris which has been very much appreciated. Thank you again.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

I would highly recommend Redmans Solicitors, the team were very friendly and my case was dealt with professionally and efficiently. Thank you!

Posted 2 months ago

Shane M

Very professional, welcome advice at a crucial time. Always available and reasonable cost.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

My case was relatively straight-forward. But even so, working with Redmans was easy, quick, professional & clear. Many thanks

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The team were very helpful and answered all my questions regarding my redundancy. Initially I had a call with one of the representatives who escalated my request to a suitable employment solicitor. We arranged a call to discuss the settlement and she helped answer all my questions. We then mainly contacted through email which helped resolve the settlement quickly and convently. Thanks for all the help.

Posted 2 months ago

Djaouida T

You have good communication.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional. A highly recommended company for employment related issues.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very professional service.

Posted 2 months ago

Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 10 months ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 11 months ago