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I’m a believer – no doubt in my mind











I’m
a believer – no doubt in my mind





The
EAT in Grainger plc v Nicholson held that a belief in man-made climate change,
and an accompanying moral duty to live in a way that avoids any damaging
effects, is a philosophical belief qualifying for protection under Employment
Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003.

Tim
Nicholson was made redundant from his position as Head of Sustainability at
Grainger Plc. He alleges that one of the reasons was because of his belief in
climate change over which he had many disagreements with senior colleagues
because good written policies on the environment were not followed.  The
tribunal found that Mr Nicholson’s beliefs about climate change did amount to a
philosophical belief within the 2003 Regulations. Grainger appealed to the EAT.

The
EAT gave guidance on the five essential features that must be present to
constitute a belief, i.e. it must:

1.       
be genuinely held;

2.       
be a belief and not
merely an opinion or viewpoint based on
           information currently available;

3.       
relate to a weighty
and substantial aspect of human life and
           behaviour;

4.       
be persuasive,
serious, cohesive and important; and

5.       
be worthy of respect
in a democratic society, not be incompatible
           with human dignity and not
conflict with the fundamental rights
           of others.

The
EAT added that the belief must have a similar status to a religious belief, but
it is not required to be shared by others and it does not need to be a
fully-developed system of thought that governs the whole of a person’s life.
The EAT then went on to reject the appeal, holding that Mr Nicholson’s a belief
in man-made climate change and an accompanying moral duty to live in a way that
mitigates or avoids the alleged damaging effects, is capable of constituting a
philosophical belief, as long as it is genuinely held. The case would therefore
be remitted to the tribunal for a substantive hearing.

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