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Eco-believer granted date in court

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An employee has had his claim for unfair dismissal permitted by the courts following a ruling that his beliefs in climate change deserve religious protection.

Former Head of Sustainability at Grainger PLC, Tim Nicholson, claims his views on climate change were so serious that they caused clashes with management and his eventual sacking.

He has accused Grainger’s Chief Executive, Rupert Dickinson, of displaying “contempt” for his concerns and total disregard for the state of the planet. In one instance, the CEO allegedly ordered a plane journey for a colleague to collect his mobile phone from London.

The case is now ready for take-off after an employment appeal judge ruled that Mr Nicholson’s quasi-religious beliefs deserve protection.

“Essentially what the judgement says is that a belief in man-made climate change, and the alleged resulting moral imperative, is capable of being a philosophical belief and is therefore protected by the 2003 religion and belief regulations,” said Mr Nicholson’s solicitor, Shah Qureshi.

The former employee claims his whole life is structured around his belief, personified by his eco-friendly home and refusal to travel by plane. At a previous hearing he maintained: “This affects how I live my life. I encourage others to cut their carbon emissions and I fear for the future of the human race.”

But Grainger executives have maintained that Mr Nicholson’s views are political and a “lifestyle choice” that is not protected by the law. Grainger’s Corporate Affairs Director, Dave Butled, added: “Mr Nicholson’s redundancy was driven solely by the operational needs of the company during a period of extraordinary market turbulence.”

 “Grainger rejects outright any suggestion that there was any other motivation relating to Mr Nicholson’s beliefs or otherwise.”

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Written by Andrew Hodges

November 8, 2009 at 10:17 am

Posted in LinkedIn, New Law

Tagged with , ,

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