Belief in ‘democratic socialism’ can amount to a philosophical belief for the purpose of a religion or belief discrimination

This first-instance employment tribunal decision nicely illustrates that there is sometimes, but rarely, an exception to the general rule that support of a political party does not amount to a ‘philosophical belief’ capable of protection under the Equality Act 2010. 

Mr Olivier was a Labour councillor and active campaigning member of the Labour party for more than 30 years. He believed that the Labour party was more than just a political party but that it enshrined a set of core beliefs amounting to ‘democratic socialism’. He argued that his belief in these values determined how he lived his day-to-day life. His employer, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), dismissed Mr Olivier for breaching its policy on civil servants engaging in political activity, after he stood for a position as a councillor without first seeking DWP’s permission and for writing a letter to a newspaper that criticised the government’s tax and benefits policies…

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