Laura Macdonald | Senior Associate

Employment Tribunal rejects claim

Employment Tribunal rejects claim that a belief that sex is “biologically immutable” amounts to a philosophical belief that should be protected by the Equality Act 2010

The Employment Tribunal has recently provided its Judgment in the case of Forstater v CGT Europe and others, involving a researcher who lost her job after tweeting that transgender women cannot change their biological sex, on the basis that she asserted sex to be a “biological fact”, and is immutable.

The Employment Judge ruled that Ms Forstater’s views “did not have the protected characteristics of philosophical belief”. She was accused of using “offensive and exclusionary” language in tweets opposing government proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to self-identify as the opposite sex.

Forstater’s legal challenge, which was funded through the CrowdJustice website, claimed that she had a philosophical belief, in circumstances we she had:-

  • the belief that being male or female was an immutable biological fact and that there was no difference between sex and gender
  • the lack of a belief that sex was different to gender and that gender could trump sex.

She focused on an argument of “inheritance of genetic material” to support the belief, stating that sex was determined at conception, and that it was impossible to change it.

The Employment Judge stated that Ms Forstater was an “absolutist”, and that it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates the dignity and / or creates an intimidating hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

The Employment Judge stated that “the approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society”.  Therefore Ms Forstater’s claim failed.

This confirms that such an “absolutist” view will not be protected under the Equality Act 2010.

Should you require any advice in relation to discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment, or any other aspect of employment law, don’t hesitate to contact our specialist team today.

Laura Macdonald

Laura Macdonald

Employment Law Team

“I strive to provide clear and practical advice to clients, focussing on the individual or organisation’s particular circumstances and requirements.”

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