Feminist wins employment tribunal

An employment tribunal has recently found in favour of a social worker who claimed she was harassed and disciplined by both her employer and regulatory body, for her lawfully held beliefs. 

The claimant used her personal Facebook account to share content from women’s rights groups such as articles from mainstream media and a petition to ban men from women’s sports.

Whilst the posts were in a small Facebook group, seen by a small number of Facebook friends, one of those was a work colleague, who reported her for posting “transphobic content”. She was suspended by her employer for gross misconduct.

The claimant, a feminist who holds gender critical views, has campaigned over many years for women’s rights. The employment tribunal judge concluded that she was naively unaware that posts she had shared and petitions she had signed were discriminatory or offensive. The claimant acknowledged showing a lack of judgement in her use of social media.

Following a year’s suspension, a final written warning and an appeal, the employer eventually reversed the finding of gross misconduct and withdrew the sanction. However, the employment tribunal held that the claimant’s Facebook posts and other communications “fell within her protected rights for freedom of thought and freedom to manifest her beliefs as protected under Articles 9 and 10.” The tribunal went on to conclude that “the opinions expressed by the claimant could not sensibly be viewed as being transphobic when properly considered in their full context from an objective perspective, but rather her expressing an opinion contrary to the interpretation of legislation”.

The award of compensation is to be decided in February 2024.

Despite the employer reversing its original decision on appeal, this claimant still raised an action at the employment tribunal due to the length of time it took to resolve. If you would like more information or have any concerns about the subject, contact us at enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk and we can discuss.

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