Belief in the higher purpose of public service broadcasting protected by discrimination law

05 May 2011

In the case of Maistry v BBC, an Employment Tribunal decided that a belief in the “higher purpose” of public service broadcasting, to encourage debate and citizenship in a public space, is a philosophical belief that qualified for protection under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (the “Regulations”). The fact that the belief was based on the public aims of the employer did not exclude it.

The Employment Tribunal was persuaded by the fact that Mr Maistry’s belief was “clearly of great personal significance to him” given his experience of being a journalist during the apartheid.


This case represents a shift away from the old test that a philosophical belief ought to have “a similar status or cogency to a religious belief.” It is another example of the parameters for protection under the Regulations being widened to allow concepts that people are passionate about to have the same protection as a religious belief.