Tax researcher was discriminated against for ‘gender critical’ views, tribunal finds

Tax researcher was discriminated against for ‘gender critical’ views, tribunal finds
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Researcher lost job at think tank after tweeting that transgender women could not change their biological sex.

 

Tax expert Maya Forstater didn’t have her contract renewed at the Centre for Global Development (CGD) after posting a series of tweets about gender and sex.

 

In 2018 Forstarter posted a series of tweets opposing UK Government proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act.

She wrote: ‘What I am so surprised at is that smart people who I admire … are tying themselves in knots to avoid saying the truth that men cannot change into women’.

 

Ms Forstater said that ‘when men wear make-up, heels, dresses they don’t become women’ and took swipes at the idea of allowing transgender people into single sex spaces such as changing rooms and prisons.

 

 

Forstarter claimed she was discriminated against due to her ‘gender-critical’ views when the organisation, which she had worked for as a contractor, failed to renew her position with them.

 

In a 2019 case, a tribunal judge initially decided ‘gender-critical’ views were not “worthy of respect in a democratic society”.

However, in a 2021 appeal, a later judge ruled “gender-critical” views were protected under the Equality Act 2010.

The judge ordered a fresh tribunal, which published its ruling on Wednesday (July 6).

 

The London Central Employment Tribunal unanimously upheld the complaint determining that Forstater was discriminated against and that her contract and visiting fellowship were not renewed because she held ‘gender critical’ beliefs.

The judgement also ruled in favour of Forstater’s claim of victimisation over her profile being removed from the Centere for Global Development’s (CGD) website.

However other claims of harassment and indirect discrimination were dismissed alongside another complaint of victimisation because the organisation withdrew an offer to engage with her as a consultant.

Ms Forstater’s solicitor said on Twitter the successful direct discrimination claims were also pleaded alternatively as harassment and said his client could not have won both.

 

Employment judge Andrew Glennie found the decision not to offer Forstater, also the executive director of Sex Matters, an employment contract nor renew her unpaid visiting fellowship role at the thinktank in March 2019 was direct discrimination related to her “gender-critical” beliefs.

Judge Glennie said her complaint she was victimised after being removed from a company website was “well founded”.

Forstarter celebrated the ruling in a statement, saying: “My case matters for everyone who believes in the importance of truth and free speech.”

“We are all free to believe whatever we wish. What we are not free to do is compel others to believe the same thing, to silence those who disagree with us or to force others to deny reality.”

 

Amanda Glassman, the chief executive of the Centre for Global Development, said the organisation was reviewing the judgment.

Adding that the think tank’s “primary aim has always been to uphold our values and maintain a workplace and an environment that is welcoming, safe, and inclusive to all, including trans people”.

 

Forstater’s case came to public attention following some high-profile endorsees, such as Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

After the ruling, Rowling tweeted: “Every woman who’s been harassed, silenced, bullied or lost employment because of her gender critical beliefs is freer and safer today, thanks to the warrior that is @MForstater.”

 

The LGB Alliance was among those offering congratulations, with a Tweet saying: “We’re delighted to see Maya Forstater finally vindicated in her long fight for justice. Having earlier established the legitimacy of gender-critical views, she has now exposed the prejudice that led to secretive pressure and astonishingly unprofessional HR practices within CGD.”

 

Numerous other gender-critical activists celebrated the ruling on social media and were joined by Labour MP Marsha de Cordova, a former shadow equalities secretary, prompting some observers  to comment how it had only been days since the political figure tweeted:

I and @UKLabour will keep up the fight for equality & rights for all LGBT+ people.

Many others were quick to point out that the ruling does not set a precedent that allows employees with gender critical views to be transphobic in the workplace.

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