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31 August 2018 | Comment | Article by Louise Price

“Philosophical belief” in copyright law


In the quirky case of Gray v Mulberry, Mrs Gray had claimed that her dismissal by her employer for refusing to sign a contract assigning copyright in her work was discriminatory. This was on the basis that her belief in the “sanctity of copyright law” was a philosophical belief capable of protection under the Equality Act 2010.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) disagreed with Mrs Gray and held that the Tribunal had been entitled to conclude that this belief lacked the cogency to qualify under the Equality Act 2010.

The EAT went on to state that even if it was wrong about this, there would be no way for Mrs Gray to successfully argue indirect discrimination because she was the only known person to hold this belief. As there was no disadvantaged group for her to be part of, any such claim for indirect discrimination would be bound to fail.

This case shows how some claimants may try to make the treatment they allege they’ve suffered “fit” within the existing discrimination regime but will not always be successful once the courts apply the appropriate legal tests.

If you would like more information please contact the employment team.

Author bio

A highly specialised lawyer, Louise is a Partner and Head of Employment and HR services. Her expertise includes corporate support work, TUPE, pensions and employee benefits advice. She regularly advises private, public and third sector clients regarding large scale TUPE transfers of staff including drafting indemnities and warranties, advising on potential employment and pension liabilities, information and consultation obligations, and providing best value guidance.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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