The employer's religious belief

The Employment Appeal Tribunal have recently overturned a finding that a teacher at an ultra-orthodox Jewish nursery was discriminated against on grounds of religion or belief in Gan Menachem v De Groen.

Ms De Groen was a nursery teacher at an ultra-orthodox Jewish nursery. It was revealed that Ms De Groen was living with her boyfriend, which contradicted the beliefs of the nursery and the ultra-orthodox Jews.

Ms De Groen was invited to attend a meeting with her manager, during which she was asked to confirm that she was no longer living with her boyfriend so that the nursery could tell anybody concerned that they were no longer living together. Ms De Groen refused to lie and was subsequently dismissed.

She brought proceedings for discrimination on grounds of religion and belief and sex. She was initially successful with her claims in the employment tribunal however the employer appealed.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that she had not been discriminated against on account of her religion or belief but rather because of her employer's religion or belief and as such, her claim of discrimination on ground of religion or belief failed. The claim for discrimination on account of her sex was upheld.

This case demonstrates the importance of the claimant being able to demonstrate that the discrimination suffered is on account of the claimant's protected characteristic, and not just because of a protected characteristic.

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