Once again we round off this month’s update with a tale of tabloid outrage with an employment law twist. Last month it was being sacked for using an emoji with previous updates covering farting managers and sordid police officers and funeral home workers.
This month with Dr David Mackereth, who was training to be a DWP disability assessor, claiming he was dismissed for refusing to refer to patients based on their identified gender instead of the gender they were assigned at birth.
Dr Mackereth stated his refusal stemmed from his strong Christian belief that gender was assigned by biology and genetics based on God’s own image and that he was being asked to refer to 6ft bearded men as Madam. He was dismissed because it was his employer’s belief that referring to a trans person as their birth gender instead of identified gender could amount to harassment – a recurring theme of this month’s update.
Following his dismissal, Dr Mackereth initiated a religion/belief discrimination claim. The claim has yet to be determined but PJH Law’s view is this will be a difficult case to decide as two rights collide – the right to hold a sincere religious belief against the right to transition sex respectfully. However in a liberal society reason should trump faith and if the employer had a rule or policy that service users should be called by their identified gender rather than their birth sex, the odds will favour the employer. In other cases where the right to hold a religious belief has locked horns with the right to be treated equally on grounds of sexuality, the right to equal treatment has won the day over the right to hold a tenet of a religious belief.