English Nationalism on the Rise: Thomas vs Surrey and Borders NHS

Caragh Bailey
26/03/2021
English Nationalism at Work from Employment Law Friend

Case Ref:
2304056/2018
Case Name:
Mr S Thomas v Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Ms A Brett
Relates to:
Decision:
Case dismissed
Award:
None

Mr S Thomas was dismissed with immediate effect from his interim position as a consultant to Surrey and Borders NHS Trust on the 24th of July 2018. (His employment was due to end on the 2nd of August, but could have been extended for a further three months).

The reason given for dismissal was that he had failed to disclose his previous conviction for electoral fraud in 2016. He had submitted false nomination forms for candidates to become English democrat councillors. He served 7 months, with a further 14 days in prison for breaching the terms of his bail. This was not disclosed to his employers. He had been convicted under a different name (Steven Uncle). The respondents position is that he was dismissed for providing misleading information in order to obtain the job, including not disclosing either his conviction or the name under which he was convicted.

Mr Thomas claimed that the real reason he was sacked was that his employers had discovered his affiliations with the English democrats (a nationalist political party) and English Nationalism. He defended his English nationalism as being focused on English culture and identity and not on race. He asserted that he believes in English cultural unity which includes non-English people who choose to live in England and adopt an English identity and allegiance to England.

Workers in the UK are protected from discrimination based on their religion or philosophical beliefs. This case resulted in a ruling that Included English nationalism as a protected characteristic under The Equality Act 2010.

If you've been discriminated against based on your philosophical belief, which does not infringe on the rights or freedoms of others, our employment solicitors can help.
Employment Law Specialist | Competitive Quotes | Straight Talking Legal Support

But, don't panic yet! The claimants case for discrimination based on his English nationalism was dismissed, because while English nationalism is now protected from discrimination, he had also publicly expressed anti Muslim and anti migrant sentiment.

To qualify as a protected characteristic, a philosophical belief must:
    1
    Be genuinely held;
    2
    Be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint;
    3
    Be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour;
    4
    Attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance; and
    5
    Be worthy of respect in a democratic society, compatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.

The Judge ruled that Mr Thomas' claim failed on the fifth point.

Through cross examination records from a previous tribunal hearing in October 2017, as well as Mr Thomas' social media posts, his anti Muslim and anti migrant views were found to be a clear part of his English nationalist belief. We have decided, respectfully, not to include the claimant's xenophobic and racist remarks. Direct quotes are available in the Judge's notes. In summarising the evidence regarding Mr Thomas' beliefs and the basis under which he held them, the judge concluded; It was in short, pure prejudice.

If you have to deal with someone at work who expresses racist or oppressive beliefs our employment solicitors can help.

If you have been victim of a hate crime, report the incident to the police as soon as it is safe to do so.

Employment Law Specialist | Competitive Quotes | Straight Talking Legal Support

In conclusion:
Based on this new ruling, which protects English nationalism like any other protected characteristic, English nationalists do not by any means have a free rein to express any sentiment which is oppressive toward other groups or beliefs. Doing so would negate their right to protection from discrimination based on their English nationalism and they may be liable for a counter claim of discrimination themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions
A philosophical belief is a strong, non-religious belief about the way that people should live or behave.
There are actually 5 characteristics, as follows:

    1
    Be genuinely held;
    2
    Be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint;
    3
    Be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour;
    4
    Attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance; and
    5
    Be worthy of respect in a democratic society, compatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.
As we have seen in the case above, a political belief can be a protected characteristic as long as it meets the 5 criteria of a philosophical belief.
Yes. Atheism is protected from discrimination under The Equality Act 2010.

Do you have a problem with philosophical differences at work?
There is much more to winning your case than simply being in the right, our specialist employment solicitors know all the laws and tactics, to make sure you get the best chance at a fair settlement. Get in contact with us and see how we can help.

Employment Law Specialist | Competitive Quotes | Straight Talking Legal Support


This content is provided free of charge for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of our company. For employment law advice you can click here to organise a meeting with one of our panel of employment law solicitors.

 
Find Out More:

Talk to a Professional

If you're facing racism at work, we can help.


Just get in touch today to speak to one of our professional Employment Law Friends

 
 
Agree to Terms | Privacy Policy
We reply to all messages within 1 working day and will help wherever we can!
Employment Law Friend Privacy Promise
Employment Law Friend Privacy Promise

We promise not to share any of the information you provide to your employer.
What you tell us, stays between us.
We're loyal like that.

No Win No Fee Employment Solicitors from Employment Law Friend

Click for more information. Terms apply.