ELiAction News: September 2019
Welcome to this month’s edition of the Employment Law in Action newsletter
Welcome to our September newsletter – Autumn is definitely in the air! This month we have been carrying
out a number of management training courses for our clients including ‘Positive Feedback’, ‘Managing Absence’ and ‘How to deal with Disciplinary and Grievance issues’. If you would like to know more about our bespoke training courses, please do get in touch.
In this month’s newsletter we have detailed the rules for paying statutory sick pay and have tried to demystify what qualifies as a linked period. This follows a number of advice line calls we have received on this subject. Unfortunately the uncertainty of Brexit continues to loom over us as we head towards the 31 October and we are not any clearer about the impact that this may have. We have updated our blog on employment rights and a no deal Brexit, setting out the current position which we hope will be helpful.
We hope you enjoy reading this month’s edition. If you need any further information, please do give us a call to discuss the support we can offer your team, whether this is through our advice line or via our ad hoc HR Consultancy service.
With best wishes
Julia and Ros
In this month’s issue:
UK Employment Rights – No Deal Brexit
As we head for the 31st October without a secured deal for Brexit, we look at practical steps employers can take now to prepare, including government guidance, Right to Work checks, data protection and business travel.
Statutory Sick Pay – what are the rules?
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has some complex rules, but we explain the key facts in our article.
Tribunal Finds that Vegetarianism is not a Belief in Terms of the Equality Act 2010
At a preliminary hearing in the case of Conisbee v Crossley Farms Ltd and Others, the Employment Tribunal found that vegetarianism did not qualify for protection under the terms of the Equality Act 2010.
Mr Conisbee resigned after five months of employment and he alleged discrimination on the ground of religion or belief contrary to the Equality Act 2010. The Employment Tribunal and the Respondents accepted that his belief in vegetarianism was genuinely held.
However, Mr Conisbee’s vegetarian belief failed to meet the legal hurdles required for protection under the Equality act, namely:
- It did not concern a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour: vegetarianism is not about human life and behaviour, it is a lifestyle choice and in Mr Connisbee’s view, believing that the world would be a better place if animals were not killed for food.
- It did not attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance. People become vegetarians for many different reasons: lifestyle, health, diet, concern about the way animals are reared for food, and personal taste. The Employment Tribunal contrasted vegetarianism with veganism, stating that the reasons for being a vegan appear to be largely the same, i.e. that ‘vegans simply do not accept the practice under any circumstances of eating meat, fish or dairy products, and have distinct concerns about the way animals are reared, the clear belief that killing and eating animals is contrary to a civilised society and also against climate control’. The Tribunal concluded that there was therefore a clear cogency and cohesion in vegan belief which did not apply to vegetarianism.
- It did not have a similar status or cogency to religious beliefs.
Therefore the Tribunal concluded that on balance they were not persuaded that vegetarianism amounted to a philosophical belief capable of protection under the Equality Act 2010. This decision is not binding on other Tribunals, but is an example of how Tribunals might approach a claim of religion or belief based on vegetarianism.