Bates Wells successfully represents respondents in Forstater v CGD Europe

This significant case has been the subject of widespread national media coverage, and potentially has important implications for how the protected characteristic of philosophical belief in the Equality Act 2010 is interpreted by employers.

In an eagerly awaited judgment, the London Central Employment Tribunal has ruled in favour of Bates Wells’ client CGD Europe in the case brought by Maya Forstater against (1) CGD Europe (2) Center for Global Development and (3) Masood Ahmed.

In his ruling Employment Judge Tayler said that “the specific belief that the Claimant holds as determined in the reasons, is not a philosophical belief protected by the Equality Act 2010”.

Explaining the implications of the ruling, Louise Rea, Senior Associate at Bates Wells, who advises the respondents said:

“An important Judgment has been published today, following the Preliminary Hearing which was held in November 2019, in the employment tribunal claim brought by Maya Forstater against Center for Global Development and CGD Europe. The Tribunal has determined that the Claimant’s ‘gender critical’ view is not protected as a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010.

“The Claimant believes it is a material reality that there are only two sexes, male and female, and it is not possible to change from one sex to the other, even if that individual obtains a Gender Recognition Certificate. Employment Judge Tayler held that “the Claimant’s view, in its absolutist nature, is incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others”. He observed that the Claimant was not entitled to ignore the legal rights of a person who has transitioned from male to female or vice versa and the “enormous pain that can be caused by misgendering a person”.

“A number of commentators have viewed this case as being about the Claimant’s freedom of speech. Employment Judge Tayler acknowledged that there is nothing to stop the Claimant campaigning against the proposed revisions to the Gender Recognition Act or, expressing her opinion that there should be some spaces that are restricted to women assigned female at birth. However, she can do so without insisting on calling trans women men. It is the fact that her belief necessarily involves violating the dignity of others which means it is not protected under the Equality Act 2010.”

Click here if you would like to read the rest of the Tribunal’s ruling.

If you have any queries regarding the above, or would like to receive further commentary from Louise, please contact Sam Hunter on +44 (0)20 7551 7906 or [email protected]

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of December 19, 2019.