The Economist

A matter of faith
The Economist

« A BELIEF in man-made climate change and the alleged resulting moral imperatives is capable, if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations. »

Those were the words of an English High Court judge, Mr Justice Burton, on November 3rd as he ruled that green beliefs deserve the same protection in the workplace as religious convictions. A person’s right to believe in anthropogenic climate change, and not be hounded out of his job because of it, is now enshrined in law.

The case on which the judge ruled was that of Tim Nicholson, who used to be “head of sustainability” for a residential-property firm called Grainger. Mr Nicholson was relieved of his duties at Grainger in July 2008 and in March of this year was told by a tribunal that he could pursue an unfair-dismissal case, believing, as he did, that he had been sacked on the grounds of his eco-minded beliefs. The rules on which Mr Nicholson’s case is built, namely the Equality and Employment (Religion or Belief) Regulations, were introduced in 2003 to protect employees from being sacked on the grounds of their religion.