Search

How can we help?

Icon

‘Gender critical’ view was not a philosophical belief

In Forstater v CGD Europe & Others, the Claimant’s consultancy contract was terminated after she made comments expressing her views that there are only two sexes and that it is impossible to change sex.

The Claimant claimed that this termination was discriminatory on the grounds of ‘philosophical belief’ or lack thereof.  She claimed that her ‘gender critical’ views were a philosophical belief under the Equality Act.  She further claimed that her lack of belief in people being able to self-identify was also caught by the Equality Act 2010.

The Claimant’s comments included the following:

“I share the concerns of @fairplaywomen that radically expanding the legal definition of ‘women’ so that it can include both males and females makes it a meaningless concept and will undermine women’s rights and protections for vulnerable women and girls…”

 “I reserve the right to use pronouns “he” and “him” to refer to male people.  While I may choose to use alternative pronouns as a courtesy, no one has the right to compel others to make statements they do not believe…”

The Claimant had also posted a number of tweets with her views including a tweet which included a newspaper cartoon of a person flashing two women at Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond with the caption “It’s alright – it’s a woman’s penis”.

“I share the concerns of @fairplaywomen that radically expanding the legal definition of ‘women’ so that it can include both males and females makes it a meaningless concept and will undermine women’s rights and protections for vulnerable women and girls…”

At the Tribunal the Claimant said that her view was true even where the individual had a Gender Recognition Certificate (which, by law, confirms that the person becomes, for all purposes, the acquired gender).

The Tribunal found that many of the Claimant’s concerns, such as ensuring protection of vulnerable women, did not rest on the holding of a belief that biological sex is immutable.   It further held that the Claimant’s view was ‘absolutist’ and was incompatible with human dignity and the fundamental rights of others.

The Tribunal said that it was a ‘core component’ of the Claimant’s belief that she would refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violated their dignity and/or created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.  This approach was not worthy of respect in a democratic society which is one of the fundamental elements needed to demonstrate a philosophical belief.

With regard to the question of whether her lack of belief was protected, the Tribunal said that the focus should be on the lack of belief and not the alternative belief itself.  It said that because the lack of belief here necessarily involved the view that trans women are men, it did not amount to a philosophical belief.

The Tribunal was not saying that people are not able to campaign in line with their views but clearly, and unsurprisingly, held that doing so does not mean these beliefs are protected under the Equality Act.  Where these views harass others, an employer will clearly be expected to take action.

About this article

Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

About this article

Read, listen and watch our latest insights

art
  • 22 February 2024
  • Employment

Time to take the heat off menopausal women

On 22 February 2024, the EHRC released guidance and resources for employers designed to help employers understand their legal obligations in relation to supporting workers experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Pub
  • 22 February 2024
  • Employment

Talking Employment Law: What to do if you’re at risk of redundancy

In this podcast, Harry Berryman and Rebecca Dowle, members of the employment team, will talk through the steps that need to be taken for a redundancy to be fair and the range of criteria that can be used when determining which employees will be made redundant.

art
  • 21 February 2024
  • Immigration

FAQs Partner Visa UK

Discover the UK Spouse Visa: eligibility, finances, relationship criteria, and the latest updates in 2024 for a successful application.

art
  • 19 February 2024
  • Privacy and Data Protection

The role of Data Protection Officers in ensuring compliance

How many of us receive marketing calls for products and services we did not sign up for?

art
  • 12 February 2024
  • Employment

The World of Work in 2024- What Can HR Expect?

In many senses, 2024 is unlikely to be a year with radical ruptures from those that have gone before it. The significance of 2024 though, is that it is likely to build upon those megatrends impacting the world of work, which have been emerging for some time now and are only likely to strengthen as we move on in time.

art
  • 09 February 2024
  • Privacy and Data Protection

Are we suffering from cookie fatigue?

An over-indulgence in Easter treats might not be the only cookie fatigue that individuals will suffer this year according to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).