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Now judge puts green beliefs of a worker on a par with Christianity
11-05-2009, 02:32 AM,
Now judge puts green beliefs of a worker on a par with Christianity
Now judge puts green beliefs of a worker on a par with Christianity

By Colin Fernandez
Last updated at 9:13 AM on 04th November 2009

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Green beliefs are as worthy of protection in the workplace as religious ones, a judge ruled yesterday in a landmark case.

Christian groups said the decision was further evidence of Britain 'abandoning its Christian heritage' at a time of increasing discrimination against religion.

Legal experts warned the case would 'open the floodgates' for claims of unfair dismissal based on someone's environmental beliefs.
Tim Nicholson

Buying local: Tim Nicholson shopping at a market in Oxford with his wife and child

Tim Nicholson, 42, had claimed his desire to prevent climate change was protected under laws to prevent workplace discrimination on the grounds of belief. His employer argued that green views were simply a lifestyle choice.

Yesterday, Sir Michael Burton ruled at the Employment Appeal Tribunal that Mr Nicholson's green views qualified as a 'philosophical belief' under the Religion and Belief Regulations 2003.

This opens the way for the married father of one, from Oxford, to claim he was sacked because of his green principles, in the first case of its kind at an employment tribunal.

If he wins he could be entitled to an unlimited compensation payout.

Mr Nicholson was dismissed from his job as head of sustainability at Grainger, the UK's biggest residential landlord, which manages 27,000 properties worth £3billion.

He claims he was unfairly made redundant in July 2008, after two years' service, for criticising senior management.

His criticisms included accusations that executives failed to live up to their own green policies to cut emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, including driving 'the most polluting cars on the road'.

When Mr Nicholson tried to find out how much CO2 Grainger emitted, executives blocked him.

Mr Nicholson said yesterday: 'I'm delighted with the result. I felt I was obstructed from doing my job properly, and in part that was because of my philosophical beliefs.

'My moral and ethical values are similar to those promoted by many of the world religions.

'The difference is mine are not faith-based or spiritual but grounded in overwhelming scientific evidence.'

However, Andrea Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre, condemned the ruling.

She said: 'When a country abandons its Christian heritage then what happens is there is no legal and moral framework for decision making.

'In a world of human rights, all kinds of religious and philosophical views compete and it leads to legal and social chaos.
Hon Mr Justice Burton
Rupert Dickinson

Mr Justice Burton ruled that employers should not discrimate against employers for being green, while Grainger plc (chief executive Rupert Dickinson pictured right) maintains Mr Nicholson's redundancy was driven by operational needs

'Christians are being discriminated against for holding orthodox views that have been protected in law over many centuries

in Britain. We have 45 cases where Christians have found themselves discriminated against.'

These include several highprofile cases involving the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Former registrar Lilian Ladele is challenging the tribunal's ruling in support of Islington Council's decision to discipline her for refusing to carry out civil partnerships on the grounds of her Christian beliefs.

Christian airport worker Nadia Eweida is seeking to overturn a tribunal's ruling that British Airways did not discriminate against her when it refused to allow her to wear a silver cross neck chain in public view.

The Equality and Employment (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 were brought in to stop employees being sacked on the grounds of their religion.

But after lobbying by secular groups, philosophical beliefs were also included. To qualify for protection, a philosophical belief must be 'genuinely held', be about a 'weighty and substantial aspect of human life', and have 'seriousness, cohesion and importance and be 'worthy of respect in a democratic society'.

But Jonathan Exten-Wright, an employment partner at legal firm DLA Piper, said that yesterday's ruling 'presents real practical challenges for employers - when will a belief be the type of belief that is

protected? The court describing it as being of a similar cogency or status to a religious belief leaves many questions unanswered. Understanding the dividing line in practice in the workplace will clearly be problematic.

'Ultimately it will be a test of causation, namely why someone was treated in a certain way but it is an area crying out for clear guidance.'

Peter Mooney, of Employment Law Advisory Services, warned the judgment 'would open the floodgates for others who believe their employers have victimised them simply because of their views on the environment.'

Dave Butler, of Grainger, said: 'Grainger absolutely maintains that Mr Nicholson's redundancy was driven solely by the operational needs of the company during a period of extraordinary market turbulence.

'Grainger rejects outright any suggestion that there was any other motivation relating to Mr Nicholson's beliefs or otherwise.

'We are looking forward to addressing the issues at tribunal level and demonstrating that there was no causal link between Mr Nicholson's beliefs and his redundancy.'

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11-05-2009, 02:44 AM,
Now judge puts green beliefs of a worker on a par with Christianity
.. so If I work at Nike and I bitch at Mark Parker about using unfair labour practices in impoverished nations and exploiting people because it doesn't jive with my morals and the ethics of the society at large and I was in his face about it every day until I got canned I could file a lawsuit against him and/or the corporation?

I say let the judge have his ruling, this could be fun. I'll sign up for a job at Monsanto tomorrow.
There are no others, there is only us.
11-05-2009, 02:29 PM,
Now judge puts green beliefs of a worker on a par with Christianity
Ok, you take Monsanto and I'll take Walmart. Good post nik.
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.
Mohandas Gandhi

Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.
Did you think you were put here for something less?
Chief Arvol Looking Horse

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