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Intentional Culture Can Minimise Corporate Risk


I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, so please seek legal advice from a specialist!


While researching the development of what today is the psychological safety program I offer, my executive insight saw the correlation in case law from labour tribunal hearings that shows that having an intentional organisational culture can minimise corporate risk.


In developing my "Creating Psychological Safety for Transgender Employees, While Preserving the Same for All Employees" program, I analysed laws that impacted transgender folks and case laws from labour tribunals related to these laws.


Upon examining the labour tribunal verdicts, it is evident that a distinct relationship exists between a well-established organisational culture that embodies inclusive principles and the outcomes of the cases in favour or against the claimants.


As one example, consider the case of Dr Mackereth Vs DWP. Google Bard Summarised it for us as follows:

  • Dr David Mackereth was a doctor, and Christian was employed as a health and disabilities assessor by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

  • Mackereth refused to use the preferred pronouns of transgender service users, citing his religious beliefs.

  • The DWP dismissed Mackereth for refusing to comply with its policy of using the preferred pronouns of service users.

  • Mackereth appealed his dismissal to the Employment Tribunal, arguing that his dismissal was discriminatory based on religion or belief.

  • The Employment Tribunal dismissed Mackereth's appeal, finding that the DWP had a legitimate aim in requiring its employees to use the preferred pronouns of service users and that the dismissal was a proportionate means of achieving that aim.

  • Mackereth appealed the Employment Tribunal's decision to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).

  • The EAT allowed Mackereth's appeal, finding that the DWP had not shown that requiring its employees to use the preferred pronouns of service users was a proportionate means of achieving its legitimate aim. The EAT held that the DWP could have achieved its objective by other means, such as training its employees to address transgender service users respectfully.


The initial ruling favouring DWP supported their documented policy of treating transgender patients that DR Mackereth refused to follow. What they didn't do was provide training in support of that policy.


In this case, the Grainger test for Belief is used to evaluate their claim. There are five criteria for this test. In this case, the ruling focused on criteria #2 and #5.

(i) The belief must be genuinely held.

(ii) It must be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available.

(iii) It must be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour.

(iv) It must attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance.

(v) It must be worthy of respect in a democratic society, be not incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.


Point #2 was used to assess Dr Mackereth's beliefs; the rulings found that this rule was met.


Point #5 was used to assess the impact of Dr Mackereth's beliefs on the clients of DWP. In this instance, their beliefs did not meet this criterion, so the initial ruling favoured DWP.


Remember that culture is an organisation's values, behaviours, and language. You not only need to create it and document it, but you need to train your staff and live that intentional culture every day. This is not a project for a month, quarter, or year. Creating an intentional culture will exist for the organisation's life, from the day an employee encounters the organisation to the day they exit it.


As a consultant, I can help you create your intentional culture, and I can help you train your staff, but I can not live your intentional culture for you.


Every Organisation Has a Culture. Is It The One You Want?



If you need assistance with these challenges in your workplace, please contact me for consulting and advisory services at cynthiafortlage@cynthiafortlage.com. I would be more than happy to assist you.

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