From 25 April 2013, employees are protected from dismissal due to their political opinions or affiliations outside the scope of the Equality Act 2010. Employees who hold political views associated with Socialism, Marxism or free-market Capitalism, for example, have the right to hold these beliefs in the workplace and employers cannot dismiss an employee because they disagree with those beliefs or find them unacceptable.
Please be aware that there is no qualifying period for dismissal based on political opinion or affiliation as was the case in Redfearn v United Kindgom 2012 in which an employee was dismissed by his employer after being elected as a local councillor for the British National Party. Employers must now also respect their employees’ universal right of freedom of assembly which applies to all associations including those whose views offend, shock or disturb.
With sustainability a hot topic for the hospitality sector, it is worth remembering that environmentalism and belief in climate change has already been held as potentially capable of amounting to a philosophical belief under the Equality Act in Grainger plc and others v Nicholson 2010.