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ET finds that Stoicism is a protected philosophical belief under S.10 EA 2010

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In Jackson v Great Britain Ltd an ET had to decide whether Stoicism qualifies as a protected philosophical belief under S.10 of the Equality Act 2010 in accordance with the principles set out by the EAT in Grainger plc and ors v Nicholson.  J believes in a particular philosophical belief system known as Stoicism, i.e. there is an objective moral reality to which we are subject and there are several ethical “values” to which he must adhere as a consequence of this belief which he identifies as wisdom, courage, moderation and justice. When considering whether an act he performs is a permissible one, the act itself and its adherence to principles and virtues is the subject which must be considered, as opposed to determining the ethical nature of an act in a utilitarian or consequentialist manner. The realisation that the consequence of what he says would cause offence would not stop him from saying it. The ET found that Stoicism is a protected belief. Stoicism as a philosophical belief system has been with us for about 2,300 years and J’s belief is genuinely held because he is serious in his views and applies them consistently and with a single-minded logic. Stoicism concerns a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour, it attains a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance, and is worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others.

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