LGB Alliance founder Allison Bailey loses legal fight against Stonewall

LGB Alliance founder Allison Bailey

Allison Bailey has lost her lawsuit against Stonewall but has won her employment tribunal case against Garden Court Chambers.

Bailey, a lesbian barrister and co-founder of the anti-trans lobby group LGB Alliance, sued LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall and Garden Court Chambers, of which she is a member.

The so-called “gender critical feminist” claimed that “Garden Court took action” against her by launching an investigation and and withholding work from her over her anti-trans social media posts and her involvement with LGB Alliance.

She claimed that the chambers was guilty of victimisation and discrimination on the basis of her sex and sexual orientation, and that Stonewall caused this alleged discrimination because the chambers was a part of the charity’s Diversity Champions scheme.

Allison Bailey’s employment tribunal began on 25 April 2022 and the judgement was handed down on Wednesday (27 July).

The Employment Tribunal found that Bailey’s “gender critical” beliefs were protected under the Equality Act, although it made no judgement on whether these beliefs were accurate.

As such, it found that Garden Court Chambers had discriminated against Bailey when it tweeted that allegations of transphobia against her would be investigated under its complaints procedure, and when it found that two of Bailey’s tweets opposing trans rights were likely to have breached her duties as a barrister.

Bailey used a crowdfunding platform to raise £551,262 to fight her legal battle. The Employment Tribunal awarded her £22,000 in damages for injury to feelings.

However, the tribunal ruled against Bailey in most respects.

It found that Bailey had not lost work and her income was not affected, “let alone significantly influenced”, because of her views or her opposition to Garden Court Chambers’ membership of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme.

It also rejected the idea that Garden Court Chambers had a “practice of treating gender critical beliefs as bigoted”, and “concluded there was no evidence whatsoever that Stonewall directed Garden Court’s investigation process”.

Bailey’s separate claim that “Stonewall instructed, induced or caused, or attempted to induce or cause detriment to” her was also rejected.

Bailey took to social media to claim the ruling as a “success”, insisting she had “exposed” the charity, which champions trans rights.

A Stonewall spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the Employment Tribunal has ruled in a decision published today that Stonewall has NOT been found to have instructed, caused or induced Garden Court Chambers to discriminate against Allison Bailey.

“Our Diversity Champions programme supports employers to make their workplaces inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ+ employees. It provides resources, guidance and support for organisations who are committed to creating a workplace where everyone can thrive.

“We are incredibly proud of the inclusive communities these organisations are creating across the country, by going above and beyond the legal minimum to provide leading support for LGBTQ+ people at work.

“The case heard by the Employment Tribunal did not accurately reflect our intentions and our influence on organisations. 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.

“We are proud to work every day for the freedom, equity and potential of every LGBTQ+ person, whether that’s fighting for LGBTQ+ Afghans to be resettled in the UK, campaigning so that lesbian and bi women can access IVF without paying £25,000 out of their own pockets, or securing a ban on conversion practices that protect all LGBTQ+ people from lifelong harm.”

A spokesperson for Garden Court Chambers said that the judgement was being reviewed with a “view to appeal”.

“We are reviewing today’s judgment, which dismissed Ms Bailey’s claim against Stonewall and most of her claims against Garden Court Chambers including all her claims for indirect discrimination,” they said.

“In particular we note that her primary claim (for loss of earnings on the grounds of victimisation) was dismissed, the tribunal finding that ‘We could not conclude that it was shown that the fall in income was in any way influenced (let alone significantly influenced)’ by Ms Bailey’s complaint to colleagues about Garden Court becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion or by her beliefs.

“The Tribunal found that it ‘could not conclude that Garden Court Chambers as a whole had a practice of treating gender critical beliefs as bigoted’. This confirms our stance.

“We have maintained throughout that our members, quite reasonably, hold differing views in the complex debate around trans and sex-based rights. Our primary aim throughout has always been to uphold our values and maintain a workplace that is inclusive and welcoming to all.

“We are reviewing the judgment carefully with our legal team with a view to appeal.”

Garden Court Chambers now has 42 days to to apply to the Employment Appeal Tribunal for permission to appeal the judgment.