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Maya Forstater was discriminated against, according to final tribunal ruling

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Maya Forstater was discriminated against, according to final tribunal ruling

On 6th July 2022, the long running case of Forstater v CGD Europe came to an end when Maya Forstater successfully won her discrimination case, as the employment tribunal ruled that she was discriminated against for her gender-critical beliefs.

In this article, Chris Dobbs breaks down the case; outlining what happened and what the ruling means for employers going forward.

Case Background: Maya Forstater

Maya Forstater originally made headlines way back in December 2019 when an Employment Judge ruled against her claims for discrimination on the basis of a protected belief, after she made what her employer considered to be a transphobic Social Media post.

Specifically, Ms Forstater expressed the view that trans women holding Gender Recognition Certificates could not describe themselves as women and.

The employer in this case did not renew Ms Forstater’s contract after she had tweeted such comments, Ms Forstater claimed that she was dismissed for holding these beliefs, but the employment tribunal held that her beliefs were not protected and hence her claim failed.

Ms Forstater appealed.

What happened at the EAT?

Back in June 2021, the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld Ms Forstater's appeal, determining that the original tribunal had incorrectly applied the legal test in making their determination.

In the judgment, Mr Justice Choudhry concluded that the original judge had incorrectly assessed Ms Forstater’s beliefs as not being ‘worthy of protection in a democratic society’.

What is the final verdict?

In this final tribunal hearing, held on July 6th, Ms Forstater succeeded in arguing that her beliefs around gender issues were capable of protection as a philosophical belief and, furthermore, that she was discriminated against for having these beliefs. 

In a statement, Ms Forstater said: "My case matters for everyone who believes in the importance of truth and free speech.

"We are all free to believe whatever we wish. What we are not free to do is compel others to believe the same thing, to silence those who disagree with us or to force others to deny reality."

What implications does this outcome have for employers?

Chris Dobbs said: "In terms of employment law, this case does have an impact.

This is another lesson to employers that they do have to be careful when considering taking action against workers because those workers have beliefs that perhaps many would find distasteful or simply not agree with them.

The ruling confirms, again, that beliefs, even if offensive to some other people, can be protected in the employment tribunal."

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