11 January 2022

Cases - Fear of catching Covid-19 not a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010

The Claimant (identified only as X) brought a discrimination claim against her employer (Y) when her pay was stopped because of her refusal to return to work in July 2020, stating that she had a fear of catching Covid-19 and passing it on to her partner who was at “high risk of getting seriously unwell from Covid-19”.

Following a preliminary hearing, the Employment Judge decided that the Claimant’s belief in a fear of catching Covid-19 and a need to protect herself and others does not amount to a philosophical belief for the purposes of section 10(2) of the Equality Act 2010.  Explaining the decision in a reserved judgment, the Employment Judge set out that the Claimant’s fear did not amount to a belief, but rather was an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available, and therefore did not meet the criteria set out in Grainger plc v Nicolson (2010) IRLR 4. 

Click here to read the judgement.

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