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Acas employee beings claim of discrimination on grounds of belief

In C v Acas, one of Acas’s own employees brought a claim against it, arguing that he has been discriminated against on the grounds of his beliefs.

In C v Acas, one of Acas’s own employees brought a claim against it, arguing that he has been discriminated against on the grounds of his beliefs.

Mr C works for ACAS as a conciliator. He is white and is married to a black woman and has black children. Acas employees use Yammer to share ideas and communicate internally. Yammer has been described as the ‘Facebook of the corporate world … where friends are replaced with colleagues, ads are replaced with corporate reminders, and updates are related to events, questions, and problems colleagues are trying to solve.’

Mr C added a number of posts to the platform about his views on race and racism. He wrote that he had ‘experienced abuse and bigotry from both sides’ but that ‘worryingly divisive’ current ideologies ignore this. Another post linked to an article by a free speech campaigner and GB News host which argued that ‘currently fashionable conceptions of marginalised identities’ are incompatible with ‘the fearless exchange of ideas’.

Some of Mr Corby’s colleagues objected to his posts because, they said, they promoted racist ideas and complained to their manager. Acas dismissed their complaints but did ask Mr Corby to delete his posts. In response, he brought a claim, arguing that Acas had discriminated against him because of his protected beliefs.

A preliminary hearing was held to determine if Mr Corby’s views were protected beliefs under s10(2) of the Equality Act 2010. Mr Corby was cross-examined about his beliefs. He made it clear that he was opposed to critical race theory and, what he referred to as ‘wokism’, because it can result in separatism, segregation and ethnocentrism. He said that he prefers the approach of Martin Luther King which desires a society where people are judged by the content of their character, rather than the colour of their skin. He opposes ‘identity politics’ which pit one group against another.

The tribunal said that it had ‘no hesitation’ about finding that Mr Corby’s beliefs were protected. His views were genuine and formed part of his identity and affected the way he lives his life. They were grounded in philosophical teachings aimed to eliminate racism in society.

Another tribunal will have to decide if Acas has discriminated against Mr Corby because of his protected beliefs.

Source: Lexology

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