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Dismissal was not due to a genuinely held belief in spiritualism






















Dismissal
was not due to a genuinely held belief in spiritualism

An employment tribunal has
found that Alan Power, a former police employee, was not dismissed because he
is a spiritualist who believes that messages from the dead help in criminal
investigations. Therefore he had not been discriminated against on grounds of a
genuinely held belief, in breach of the Employment Equality  (Religion and Belief) Regulations.

In last month’s All
Inclusive we reported the case of Grainger Plc v Nicholson, where the EAT set
out the test to be followed to determine whether a ‘belief’, comes within the
scope of the protection afforded by the Employment Equality  (Religion and Belief) Regulations. Using that
test, the EAT held that a belief in man-made climate change, and an
accompanying moral duty to live in a way that avoids any damaging effects, did
come within the scope of the Regulations.

Alan Power, a former
police trainer, claimed that had been dismissed because he is a spiritualist who
believes that messages from the dead help in criminal investigations. At a
pre-hearing review, using the test set out in the Grainger  case an employment judge held that Mr Power’s beliefs
were worthy of respect in a democratic society, and had sufficient cohesion and
cogency to be a philosophical belief under the Regulations. The EAT upheld the
tribunal’s decision and the case was remitted for a full hearing.

At the full hearing, the
tribunal found that Mr Power had not been dismissed because of his belief in
spiritualism. His dismissal was because of inappropriate behaviour which came
to light shortly after he joined Greater Manchester Police. This included
allegedly becoming sexually aroused when being searched when playing the part
of an arrested shoplifter during a session at a police training college and
distributing  inappropriate research
materials to Merseyside officers featuring the World Trade Centre attacks.

This case demonstrates
that the definition of a belief is capable of being given a wide
interpretation, even though the EAT in Grainger set out a number of specific
tests which have to be applied.

 

 

 

 

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