In a surprising turn of events, Maya Forstater, researcher and tax expert, received over £100,000 from an Employment Tribunal after her case was reheard earlier this year. Her case was first heard in 2019 after she was sacked over tweeting gender-critical views that the CGD found transphobic.
What Exactly Happened?
Maya Forstater, a writer and researcher on public policy, tax and business, started working with the CGD in 2015. She entered into a consultancy agreement on 6th January 2015 until 31st May 2015. She also entered into similar agreements between 2016-17 and in 2018. Beyond 2018, she says to have no new contracts, but she was the frontrunner for employment.
The issue started in 2017 when she researched the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) and was concerned about how people would be able to self-identify. Expressing her concern, she tweeted in 2018:
“UK gov consultation on reforming the #GenderRecognitionAct – proposes to dramatically change scope of the law; from requiring medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria for change of sex on birth certificate, to using the basis of ‘self identification’ …
I share the concerns of @fairplaywomen that radically expanding the legal definition of ‘women’ so that it can include both males and females makes it a meaningless concept and will undermine women’s rights & protections for vulnerable women & girls. …
Some transgender people have cosmetic surgery. But most retain their birth genitals. Everyone’s equality and safety should be protected, but women and girls lose out on privacy, safety and fairness if males are allowed into changing rooms, dormitories, prisons, sports teams.”
In addition to this, she had a lot to say about Pips/Philip Bunce and the fact that he dresses up in dresses and wigs. According to a press note, Pips/Philip feels that he is “at no fixed point on the gender expression spectrum”. Pips/Philip was also a part of the Top 100 Women in Business. On being questioned about her comments about Pips, Maya said:
“There are also a group of misogynist people, and others who want to undermine protections for women and children that have become entryists to the Trans Rights Activists movement that are not natural allies to women: gamergaters, incels, narcissists, extreme porn advocates”.
Maya further added that people should not be compelled to agree to delusions like “transwomen are women” and that “if people find the basic biological truths that “women are adult human females” or “transwomen are male” offensive, then they will be offended.”
However, in early October 2018, she was informed by the company that her comments were transphobic. Shortly after, her contract ended on 31st December 2018, and she was not contacted for renewal or for full-time employment. Her profile was removed from the company’s website as well.
Maya took her case to an employment tribunal in March 2019 claiming to have been discriminated against based on her belief.
What Did the Tribunal Say?
The case was first heard in 2019 in London in front of Judge J Tayler. The tribunal accepted that the tweets Maya posted were not just her opinions, but her belief and she is not ready to accept the possibility that they may be wrong.
However, Judge Tayler said that “the Claimant’s view, in its absolutist nature, is incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others. She goes so far as to deny the right of a person with a Gender Recognition Certificate to be the sex to which they have transitioned.”
Hence, the case concluded on the note that “she positively believes that they [transgender women] are men; and will say so whenever she wishes. Put either as a belief or lack of belief, the view held by the Claimant fails the Grainger criteria and so she does not have the protected characteristic of philosophical belief.”
Maya did not win the case at the tribunal level, but she did have the appeals court side with her. The judge at the appeals court said her views were protected by the Equalities Act 2010 and that the tribunal has made a mistake in its judgement. The case was then sent back to the tribunal for revaluation.
Finally, the case was heard again earlier this year, and the tribunal came to the conclusion that Maya had suffered from direct discrimination as she was not offered employment and her fellowship was not renewed. Moreover, she suffered from victimisation as her profile was removed from the company website.
In a statement dated 30 June, CGD said that this case has finally come to a close and that “CGD has and will continue to strive to maintain a workplace that is welcoming, safe, and inclusive to all.”