Employment Tribunal for refusal to use transgender pronouns

In the recent case of Mackereth v The Department for Work and Pensions an Employment Tribunal has decided that a Christian doctor was not discriminated against for refusing to address transgender patients by their chosen pronoun.

Dr David Mackereth refused to use transgender pronouns as he stated it was against his Christian faith. He brought the case against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), claiming that the DWP had breached his right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. He asserted that his religious beliefs were that God only created males and females and that a person cannot choose their gender.

The Tribunal accepted that the doctor’s Christianity was protected under the Equality Act 2010 but, after considering the test established in the previous Grainger PLC v Nicholson case, it held that the doctor’s lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism, were views incompatible with human dignity which conflicted with the fundamental rights of others and so were not protected religious or philosophical beliefs under the Equality Act 2010.

The doctor intends to appeal the decision and it will be very interesting to see if the Employment Appeal Tribunal overturns the original decision.

Please contact Andrew Macmillan if you need help or advice with an employment law matter.

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