UK

Ex-employer of ‘gender critical’ Maya Forstater to ‘dispute her version of events’ in court

Lily Wakefield June 30, 2021
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What the Maya Forstater ruling actually means for transgender people

Maya Forstater's 'gender critical' views are protected by equalities law. (Barney Cokeliss/@BCokeliss)

Maya Forstater’s former employer will “dispute her version of events” relating to her contract not being renewed, after she espoused “gender critical” beliefs, at an Employment Tribunal.

Forstater was a tax researcher whose employment contract at the Centre for Global Development (CGD) was not renewed in December 2018 after colleagues complained about her views on trans people and rights. She took the think-tank to an employment tribunal arguing that it had discriminated against her for holding “gender critical” views.

The 2019 Employment Tribunal ruled that Forstater’s “gender critical” views did not qualify as a “religion or belief” that is protected in the Equality Act 2010, as they actively harmed the rights of trans people.

The judge at that time said that her anti-trans views were “not worthy of respect in a democratic society“.

However, earlier this month, London’s Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) overturned this ruling, finding that her views were, in fact, protected as a “philosophical belief”. But the judge also insisted: “That does not mean, however, that those with gender critical beliefs can indiscriminately and gratuitously refer to trans persons in terms other than they would wish.

“Such conduct could, depending on the circumstances, amount to harassment of, or discrimination against, a trans person.”

This ruling, on 10 June, was specifically about whether Forstater’s “gender critical” beliefs were protected under equalities law.

Now, she is set to return to court, for another tribunal to determine whether her contract with CDG was not renewed because of, or related to, her holding that belief.

Where does this leave employers? Equality and employment law require them to recognise and uphold the rights of all in the workplace.

Ms Forstater’s speech and beliefs are protected – but so are the rights of trans people. And if speech crosses the line from an honestly held belief to bullying, attacks and intimidation, then the scales very obviously tip in favour of protecting the victim.

Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of CGD, has revealed that the company will be “disputing” Maya Forstater’s version of the events which led up to her contract not being renewed, suggesting that new information may come to light.

She said in a statement: “After careful consideration and consultation about the various legal paths ahead of us, we have decided to fight the next phase of this case back in the Employment Tribunal.

“While we are disappointed in the recent ruling by the Employment Appeal Tribunal, we note that the judgment makes clear that while gender critical beliefs may be protected, actions that harass or discriminate against trans people cannot be undertaken with impunity.”

Glassman said that the company would not be fighting the ruling which said that “gender critical” beliefs are protected by law.

She continued: “We will not appeal that ruling, but we will now return to the Employment Tribunal to make our case and dispute Maya Forstater’s version of events.

“We seek to protect our right and our obligation to maintain a workplace that is welcoming, safe, and inclusive to trans people and any vulnerable minority groups.

“We stand by our values of inclusion and that all people should be treated with respect and dignity.”

When asked for comment, representatives for Maya Forstater directed PinkNews to her crowdfunding page.

Related topics: gender critical, maya forstater

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