Think-tank ordered to pay more than £100,000 compensation for “gender critical” belief discrimination
The Center for Global Development was today ordered to pay £106,404 in compensation to Maya Forstater, after the organisation was found to have engaged in unlawful discrimination in its decision not to offer her an employment contract or to renew her visiting fellowship.
The award includes aggravated damages for oppressive and high-handed conduct in the public statements that CGD president Sir Masood Ahmed and vice president Amanda Glassman made during the course of the case, which the employment tribunal said overstated judicial observations about the Claimant’s belief, and suggested that her belief could be equated to bigotry.
The Tribunal concluded that the discriminatory acts undertaken by CGD in not offering Ms Forstater a contract were significant, as they “showed that the Respondents did not want to be associated with the Claimant. They affected the Claimant’s status within the Respondents’ organisation and in the eyes of the wider professional world.”
The Tribunal criticised CGD’s conduct during the four-year court battle, finding that it had made inflammatory and inaccurate public statements in the context of a “hotly disputed topic” which had contributed to the abuse on social media, and the professional and personal shunning, experienced by Ms Forstater.
Following the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in 2021, CGD vice-president Amanda Glassman wrote: “we believe Judge Tayler got it right when he found this type of offensive speech causes harm to trans people…” The employment tribunal stated that Judge Tayler had not in fact characterised Maya Forstater’s words as offensive or as causing harm to trans people.
CGD further aggravated this when 85 staff members wrote a letter and shared it with PinkNews, saying: “We believe CGD must take a consistent stance against all forms of bigotry…” Senior management provided a quote indicating that the organisation regarded the Claimant’s belief as amounting to bigotry.
A further press release on 28th June 2021 also implied that Ms Forstater might have been guilty of harassment or discrimination herself.
In today’s judgment the Employment Tribunal made clear that:
“The EAT had not suggested that the Claimant had harassed or discriminated against anyone, but the press release in referring to ‘actions’ suggested that something of this nature had occurred.”
The total award for injury to feelings, including aggravated damages, is £27,000.
Loss of earnings (taking into account action taken by the claimant to mitigate her losses by finding other employment) amount to £64,000. Once interest is added the total comes to £106,404.
Maya Forstater said:
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported my case, above all my family, who have been put through hell over the past four years. Seeing their mother smeared as a bigot and a potential harasser across international media is something that my sons should never have had to experience.
“I am grateful to everyone who has supported my case through crowdfunded donations, to my hardworking legal team, and to the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Index on Censorship, both of which intervened.
“I would also like to thank Owen Barder, former director of CGD Europe, who made efforts throughout the past four years to set the public record straight that I had not harassed anyone.
“My case has exposed institutionalised discrimination against, and the routine abuse and smearing of, people with perfectly ordinary beliefs about the material reality of sex.
“A bigot is someone who is prejudiced or antagonistic towards a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group. I, and many other people with gender-critical beliefs, have been the victims, not the perpetrators, of discrimination fueled by bigotry.
“Organisations that call people ‘bigots’ and that discriminate against them because of their beliefs can expect to pay significant damages when these cases come to court.
“This final judgment provides me with some measure of closure and vindication, as it requires that CGD compensate me for my loss of income and injury to feelings. And it makes clear that the organisation’s statements about me suggesting that I might have engaged in harassment or discrimination were false.”