Islington Civil Registrar Lilian Ladele, who memorably defeated Islington Council, whom she claimed had discriminated against her on religious grounds, looks likely to have her victory earlier in the year overturned on appeal:
Last week Justice Sir Patrick Elias, President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, said there was a “fundamental problem” with the Ladele ruling.
“Let’s say I am an anarchist and I feel strongly that I want to go around blowing things up, but my employers object,” he said, according to the Islington Tribune.
“It may well be that anarchy is my genuinely held belief. But it does not mean that my employer’s decision not to allow me to is discriminating against that belief.
“The fundamental problem with the tribunal’s judgement was that the reason for her treatment was not properly addressed.
“Nowhere does the tribunal say, ‘Let’s analyse whether the reason for her disciplinary hearing was her religious belief.’
“The council say the reason was that she refused to carry out civil partnerships.
“This is a fundamental error to confuse unreasonable behaviour and discriminatory behaviour. I am not sure the tribunal appreciated that.
“So often employers get things badly wrong. In this case in Islington, I would say that argument could probably be sustained. But getting things wrong is not the same as discrimination.”
Nice to see common sense entering into the argument at last. The original argument I put forward against her preposterous claim still holds – the law entitled Islington Council to discriminate indirectly against Ladele for justifiable reasons, in this case basic operational ones. It’s entirely possible that the Council was guilty of unreasonable behaviour in terms of their treatment of her, but unreasonable or unpleasant is not the same as discrimination. A public service worker in a job which by its very definition is secular mustn’t be allowed to pick and choose who she’s prepared to serve on ‘grounds’ of religion. Apparently the appeal verdict will be issued before Christmas. I look forward to seeing it.