Green beliefs get legal protection in the UK....
This is very dangerous...
Environmental beliefs are worthy of the same protection as religion in matters of workplace discrimination, a judge has ruled in Britain.
The landmark decision, which upheld a previous employment tribunal judgment, means that workers who are victimized because of their green beliefs may have the right to bring compensation claims against their employer.
"If a person can establish that he holds a philosophical belief which is based on science, as opposed, for example, to religion, then there is no reason to disqualify it from protection," Mr. Justice Michael Burton, who presided over the appeal, said in his Oct. 7 decision.
The preliminary ruling is but one piece of a larger case that pits Tim Nicholson, a 42-year-old senior executive and environmentalist, against his former employer, Grainger PLC, Britain's largest residential landlord. Nonetheless, the precedent-setting decision marks a significant change in how employment and discrimination laws can be interpreted in the United Kingdom.
"It's quite a big sea change in terms of what amounts to unlawful discrimination in the U.K.," said Mr. Nicholson's lawyer, Shah Qureshi, of Bindmans LLP.
Mr. Nicholson, who told the appeal tribunal that he has ecorenovated his home, buys local produce, and composts his waste, says he was dismissed as the company's head of sustainability in July 2008 because of his environmental beliefs-- not because he was made redundant, as is maintained by Grainger.
Mr. Nicholson said that he had grown increasingly at odds with the company's senior executives, whom he said drove gas-guzzling cars and did little to execute the company's sustainability policies. Mr. Nicholas said Grainger's senior executives repeatedly "showed contempt" for the need to cut carbon emissions, and said the chief executive once flew an employee to Ireland to deliver the BlackBerry he had left behind in London.
In order for Mr. Nicholson's claim to move forward under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations, he had to prove that his environmental views were more than just opinions and in fact constituted philosophical beliefs.
His counsel argued that Mr. Nicholson's philosophical belief is that "mankind is heading towards catastrophic climate change and therefore we are all under a moral duty to lead our lives in a manner which mitigates or avoids this catastrophe for the benefit of future generations, and to persuade others to do the same."
Meantime, John Bowers, who represented Grainger during the appeal, argued that Mr. Nicholson's views should not be considered a philosophical belief because they are based on fact and science.