Edward McClung v Boosan Babcock & Ors 4110538/2019
(for the full judgment click HERE)
Support for Rangers Football Club was held not to amount to a philosophical belief within the meaning of section 10(2) of the Equality Act 2010, a tribunal decided at a preliminary hearing this month.
The Claimant alleged that he was denied work by the Respondent recruitment agency and construction firm as a result of his loyalty to the club. The Claimant submitted that his commitment to the club, the important place it held within his life, and the loyalty to Unionism and the monarchy (common amongst supporters) was a philosophical belief under s10 (2) of the Equality Act.
In applying the legal test to establish a philosophical belief set out in Grainger plc v Nicholson 2010 IRLR 4 that:
1. The belief must be genuinely held.
2. It must be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint
3. The belief must be a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour.
4. It must have a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion, and importance.
5. It must be worthy of respect in a democratic society.
The Tribunal held: That the Claimant’s allegiance was “support” for the Club and not a “belief.” It was not a substantial aspect of human life and behaviour and was therefore distinct from the philosophical belief of ethical veganism established in Casamithana Costs v League Against Cruel Sports ET/3331129/2018
. It also found that unionism, monarchism, involvement in the Orange Order and Protestantism, although common amongst supporters, were not a component or requisite part of being a Rangers fan, and were separate matters to the Claimant’s claim.
At para  the Tribunal held “The claimant is a supporter of Rangers in the same way as people may be
supporters or active members of a political party.”
Para 68] “I acknowledged the claimant’s evidence regarding buying a ticket for a game, enjoying the pre-match build-up, waking up “buzzing” on match days, and engaging in the singing of songs at matches, but those are all matters personal to the claimant: They are subjectively important. They are things from which the claimant, and no doubt millions of other sports fans, derive enjoyment, but they do not represent a belief as to a weighty or substantial aspect of human life and have no larger consequences for humanity as a whole.”