Can J.D Wetherspoon Force Staff To Distribute Pro-Brexit Propaganda? Some staff at JD Wetherspoon’s outlets have allegedly started a protest group to rally against distributing pro-Brexit propaganda. The group, named ‘Spoons Workers Against Brexit’, have taken issue with having to distribute beer mats in the pubs, which showcase a pro-Brexit message.
The workers argue that a hard Brexit outcome would worsen their working conditions and living standards. Chairman of the Wetherspoons brand, Tim Martin, has openly canvassed his political arguments for a pro-Brexit outcome. Some workers are arguing that they are being forced to promote this political message within the workplace. The group have expressed their views and explained that staff were “marked down for refusing to distribute beer mats, leaflets, and magazines that promote the pro-Brexit message.”
So are Wetherspoon’s staff within their right to ask staff to distribute the pro-Brexit content, even after staff have expressed their distaste in doing so? Enrique Garcia explains what the outcome should be:
“Political belief is not explicitly protected under the Equality Act in Great Britain. However, a political belief can possibly be held to be a philosophical belief in some circumstances so there is the possibility that there could be protection for this. In reality though it would be hard to describe an anti-Brexit belief as a philosophical belief. So it is possible but not probable that an employee could claim it is discriminatory.
“For most, protection will lie in unfair dismissal. It would be difficult to argue that an employee has been fairly dismissed for failing to distribute the beer mats and magazines. There would be arguments over whether the instruction was reasonable, particularly in light of the mats not being marketing for the company or its products – more the political opinions of its owner.
“From other online postings, it appears that the employees feel compelled to not promote anti-Brexit opinions. If this is the case, surely it would be better to have a policy applied equally to all regarding not promoting any political opinion. Ultimately, they are employed to serve food and drink to the public. Practically, would it not be better for them to do the job they are paid for rather than wade in on the political causes of the day?”