Over the next few days you’re going to hear a lot about Maya Forstater, the contractor who took her former employer to a tribunal after they didn’t renew her contract. Forstater is vocally anti-trans and claims that she was discriminated against because of this.
The tribunal found that Forstater’s views, which she claimed were a protected belief under the Equality Act, were not worthy of respect in a democratic society. Forstater appealed and a judge ruled yesterday that unless you’re actually advocating for a Final Solution, your beliefs are not relevant to your employment – unless, and this is crucial, those beliefs lead you to abuse other people.
This has been predictably misinterpreted by the transphobe crowd, who believe they’ve been given carte blanche to abuse trans people in the workplace. But the judgement does not say that. In fact, it specifically says that trans people are protected from workplace discrimination and malicious behaviour, and that having a protected belief is not a get out of jail card for harassment or hostility.
This is not new. Lots of cases have said that yes, vile views are protected beliefs under the EqA; no, that doesn’t mean you can be a dick to people at work.
Abigail Thorn of Philosophy Tube summed up the verdict and the anti-trans mob’s reaction perfectly:
Judge: “Yeah so you’re free to believe the moon landing was fake and you can maybe even work at NASA if they’ll have you, but you can’t keep calling Buzz Aldrin ‘a lying piece of shit who fucks dogs’ to his face okay?”
MF: “Ah, my beliefs about the “Moon” have been vindicated!”