Can an employer lawfully treat an employee less favourably, including dismissing them, because of behaviour in their private life which runs contrary to the employer’s religion or belief?
Challenging mass surveillance and protecting people’s right to privacy (Big Brother Watch and Others v UK )
Since 2013, Big Brother Watch and other human rights organisations have been challenging the compatibility of the UK’s bulk intelligence gathering and international intelligence sharing regimes with the right to privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). We intervened with the European Network for National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI), to flag the importance of safeguards in the context of mass surveillance by governments.
Challenging discrimination of a homosexual couple by a hotel (Bull and another (Appellants) v Hall and another (Respondents))
When a private hotel run by committed Christians refused the booking of a double bedroom by a homosexual couple in a civil partnership, we provided legal assistance and the couple successfully won their claim of direct discrimination.
Upholding the right to freedom of religion or belief (Forstater v (1) CGD Europe (2) Centre for Global Development (3) Masood Ahmed)
Ms Forstater alleges that she was discriminated against when her contract was not renewed because of her belief that trans women are not women. The Employment Tribunal decided her belief is not protected under the Equality Act 2010. We are intervening in the case at the Employment Appeal Tribunal, to clarify how equality and human rights law applies in the complex area of freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Our submissions concern the law and the legal approach adopted by the Employment Tribunal. They do not take or express any view as to whether Ms Forstater’s discrimination claim should succeed.
Highlighting the lack of interim relief available to discrimination claimants (Steer v Stormsure Ltd)
A woman alleged that she was sexually harassed by her colleague and victimised by her employer when she complained about it. She resigned from her employment, claiming that she had been constructively dismissed as a result of her employer’s actions and applied for interim relief, which was rejected. We were involved in the subsequent appeals in order to highlight the lack of interim relief available to discrimination claimants and the problems associated with this.
Upholding the rights of a child placed in solitary confinement (R (AB) v Secretary of State for Justice  UKSC 28)
AB, a child aged 15, was confined to his cell in a Young Offenders Institution (YOI) for 23 hours per day for 55 days. He was required to eat in his cell and allowed 30 minutes to shower, exercise and call his parents. He could hear the other boys socialising while he was locked in his cell.
Challenging the ‘two-child limit’ rule (R (on the application of SC and CB and their children) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 provides that child tax credit and its replacement universal credit will not be payable to any 3rd or subsequent children in a family born after 6th April 2017 (subject to some exceptions). This is known as the ‘two child rule’.
SC and CB each had a baby after 6th April 2017 and do not receive any tax credits for those children.
Helping the Scottish Legal Aid Board embed equality into its work (Section 23 agreement with Scottish Legal Aid Board)
The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) signed a legal agreement us, committing them to improving their assessment and review of the impact of their policies on people with protected characteristics which put equality considerations at the centre of their work.
Does planning policy discriminate against Gypsy/Roma/Traveller people who have stopped travelling due to age and disability? (R (Lisa Smith) v SSH, CLG and (2) NWLDC and Amos Willshore (Interested Party) and four interveners)
We intervened in this case to seek to protect the rights of Gypsies and Travellers who have ceased to travel, because of age or disability, not to be discriminated against.
Full case name:
R (Lisa Smith) v (1) Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and (2) North West Leicestershire District Council and Amos Willshore (Interested Party) and four interveners:
- Equality and Human Rights Commission
- National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups
- Friends Families and Travellers London Gypsies and Southark Travellers Action Group