Discipline and equality policies did not breach freedom of religion rights


Re: Trayhorn v Secretary of State for Justice (Appeal No. UKEAT/0304/16/RN)

The EAT upheld the tribunal’s finding that there had been no direct or indirect religious discrimination where the claimant, a Pentecostal Christian, was required to attend a disciplinary hearing as a result of the claimant quoting passages from the Bible which condemned homosexuality at a prison service. The tribunal had applied the correct statutory test for direct discrimination and harassment, which were different from the test for establishing whether a person was ‘manifesting a religion or belief’ for the purposes of ECHR, art 9. Further, the Equality Act 2010, s 19 required the need to establish group disadvantage despite the fact that under the ECHR, art 9 the claimant was not required to establish group disadvantage. In any event, the tribunal had considered both group disadvantage, but also whether any individual Christian had been disadvantaged by the prison’s equality and disciplinary policies and found that there had not been any part of the policies which put the claimant or those of a Christian faith or Pentecostal denomination, at a disadvantage singly or as a group. In any event, the tribunal had been entitled to find that the enforcement of the respondent’s policies were a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, taking into account the restraint on the manifestation of the claimant’s religious belief. The appeal was dismissed.

Mathew Purchase was involved in this case.