Tuesday, December 28, 2021

British Employment Tribunal Says Equality Act Does Not Cover Discrimination Because Of Fear Of COVID

Among other things, Britain's Equality Act, §10, prohibits discrimination on the basis of "belief".  In X v. Y, (Empl. Trib., Dec. 13, 2021), an Employment Tribunal in England's city of Manchester held that an employee's fear of catching COVID-19 and her need to protect herself and others does not qualify as a "belief" for purposes of the Act.  The Tribunal said in part:

I do not find that the claimant’s fear amounts to a belief. Rather, it is a reaction to a threat of physical harm and the need to take steps to avoid or reduce that threat. Most (if not all) people, instinctively react to perceived or real threats of physical harm in one way or another.... However, a fear of physical harm and views about how best to reduce or avoid a risk of physical harm is not a belief for the purposes of section 10.

Law & Religion UK reports on the decision.