Teacher with anti-Semitic beliefs loses Tribunal claim

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teacherA primary school teacher dismissed after allegations of anti-Semitic abuse has lost his attempt to argue that his opinions were a ‘philosophical belief’ covered under the Equality Act.

Mr Arya lost his job after allegations of shouting at and pushing a child, making sexist and racist comments about colleagues in letters to the National Union of Teachers, and directing anti-Semitic views to a co-worker in a text message and email.

It was revealed that the primary school teacher brought a number of claims against his former employer, the London Borough of Waltham Forest, including that he was discriminated against for his view that “the Jewish religion’s professed belief in Jews being ‘God’s chosen people’ is at odds with a meritocratic and multicultural society”, claiming it was a philosophical belief protected under the Equality Act.

The Tribunal judged that Mr Ayra’s anti-Jewish sentiment was a genuinely held and serious belief and that it is a belief and not just an opinion. However it was ruled that but that it did not meet the criteria for a philosophical belief and dismissed his complaints of discrimination and harassment relating to the philosophical belief. His case regarding other complaints against his employer has yet to be heard.

The pre-hearing was guided by the judgment of the EAT in the case of Grainger v. Nicholson in which the Head of Sustainability at a large property firm took his employers to Court for unfair dismissal after he refused to make a special flight to bring his boss his forgotten phone. Tim Nicholson claimed his strong beliefs about climate change put him at odds with the other senior executives, who did not share the same beliefs, and that his environmental ethos constituted more than just an opinion, and that it sculpted the way that he lived his life. Mr Nicholson won his case

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