Allison Bailey brought legal action against her former employer and Stonewall. Today we got a verdict.
Bailey, a lesbian barrister and co-founder of the LGB Alliance, crowdfunded a discrimination action against two parties – Stonewall and her former employer Garden Court Chambers – in which she claimed to have been ‘silenced’ for her views on transgender issues, causing numerous consequences.
The action, which became a high-profile talking point, largely due to endorsements from famous supporters like JK Rowling, in-part claimed that Stonewall are “policing free speech via its Diversity Champions Scheme”, a workplace-inclusion scheme that employers use to ensure they have LGBT+ friendly workplaces.
JK Rowling tweeted her support for Bailey above. As a prominent gender-critical advocate, JK has also tweeted support for anti-trans lobby group the LGB Alliance, which Bailey co-founded.
Incidentally, off the back of JK’s tweet about Lesbian Visibility Week, the literal founder of Lesbian Visibility Week, Linda Riley, hit up her replies saying, “Wow! I certainly did not create #LesbianVisibilityWeek so that people like @jk_rowling could use it as a vehicle to stir up more hate within our community. This is a perfect example of #HowNotToBeAnAlly #IStandWithStonewall“. You can read more about that by clicking here.
Anyway, we digress… Stonewall, one of the biggest and most successful LGBT+ human rights organisation in Europe, was formed in 1989 and has since been instrumental in landmark LGBT+ events such as the repeal of Section 28, ending the ban on LGBT people in the armed forces, equalising the age of consent, extending adoption and IVF rights to same-sex couples, and helping introduce civil partnerships… to name just a few.
With regard to its ‘Diversity Champions Scheme’, a fundamental in the Bailey case, Stonewall highlight the importance of the scheme being, “The best employers understand why all their employees should feel welcome, respected and represented at work. They know that inclusion drives better individual, business and organisational outcomes. And they believe that staff must be able to bring their whole selves to work. Because when LGBTQ+ employees feel free to be themselves, everybody benefits.”
In October 2018, Bailey complained to colleagues about GCC’s involvement with Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme, claiming the charity advocated “trans extremism”.
Her tweets opposing trans rights campaigns resulted in complaints being sent to her employer Garden Court Chambers (GCC), claiming they were transphobic.
Bailey said her views wrongly resulted in her being labelled as transphobic and the lawyer claimed she had been discriminated against for her views, and lost work and income due to her protest over the partnership between GCC and Stonewall.
The tribunal began in April and there has since been a LOT of discussion on social media, with some people following it religiously.
Today (July 27) they issued their verdict.
The tribunal found that Bailey’s former employer, GCC, discriminated against her by publishing a tweet saying it was investigating her and by upholding a claim by Stonewall arguing that two of her tweets “were likely to breach (The Bar Standards Board’s) core duties”.
However, Bailey’s claims that GCC discriminated against and victimised her through the withholding of instructions and work in 2019, causing the claimant financial loss, a claim of indirect discrimination by GCC, and a claim that Stonewall instructed, caused or induced GCC to discriminate against her, were all dismissed.
Bailey’s separate claim that “Stonewall instructed, induced or caused, or attempted to induce or cause detriment to” her was also rejected and Stonewall was, in effect, vindicated.
Stonewall, the leading LGBTQ+ charity in the UK, along with its individual employees have faced a turbulent few months as a result of the case, with the spotlight over its LGBTQ+ inclusive principals becoming a target for anti-trans and ‘gender critical’ social media users.
Despite the torrents of abuse the charity and its employees have faced in recent months, Stonewall issued a dignified statement following the ruling to say it was pleased with the outcome.
We are pleased that Stonewall has NOT been found to have instructed, caused or induced Garden Court Chambers to discriminate against Allison Bailey.
Our statement: https://t.co/Dgjvkh3xU4
— Stonewall (@stonewalluk) July 27, 2022
“The case heard by the employment tribunal did not accurately reflect our intentions and our influence on organisations,” the statement said.
“Leaders within organisations are responsible for the organisational culture and the behaviour of their employees and workers. Stonewall’s resources, support and guidance is just one set of inputs they use to help them as they consider how best to meet the needs of their own organisation.”
Bailey’s crowdfunder had numerous promoters on social media, ranging from the LGB Alliance to JK Rowling, and amassed a staggering £551,262 in public donations to fund her legal case. The Employment Tribunal awarded Bailey £22,000 in damages for injury to feelings in the employment aspect of the trial that she won.