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Dismissal of teacher by Jewish nursery for living with boyfriend not religious discrimination

Makbool Javaid

S.10 of the Equality Act 2010 protects employees against discrimination because of religion, religious belief or philosophical belief, or a lack of all three, i.e. a non-believer. In Gan Menachem Hendon Ltd v De Groen, DG is Jewish and was employed as a teacher at a Jewish nursery run in accordance with ultra-orthodox Chabad principles. DG attended a barbeque organised by a synagogue where parents of some of the children were present and during conversation it was revealed she was living with her boyfriend. Management told her that her private life was of no concern to them but if she said she was no longer living with her boyfriend, i.e. lie, that would satisfy parents who had raised concerns. DG refused and was dismissed. The EAT disagreed with the ET that DG had been discriminated against because of lack of religious belief. DG was not dismissed because of her lack of belief in Jewish law forbidding co-habitation, but because of the nursery’s own culture, ethos and religious beliefs under ultra-orthodox Chabad principles. However, the ET was right that DG had suffered direct sex discrimination; the Nursery’s attitude to co-habitation was because of sex and a man would not have been in the same way. 

The updates are kindly provided by Simons Muirhead & Burton Law firm

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