If you have a company culture of “sheep and goats” you may be in for trouble — at least in Northern Ireland. A Fair Employment Tribunal has just awarded a former salesman £15,000, finding that the printing firm at which he worked discriminated against him because of his religion – he was not a member of the Brethren community, as were the employers and other employees.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, the tribunal found that Brethren employees received company cars, pay raises and mobile phones, as well as other perks not given to the former employee. He was also told that he had been selected “for possible redundancy,” after which he filed a grievance and quit.
The tribunal stated that: “It is clear to us that there was very much a culture of sheep and goats. We were left with the clear impression from the respondent’s witnesses that they saw it as desirable and preferable to be Brethren and, by implication, undesirable not to be Brethren.”
We found the “sheep and goats” metaphor unique and interesting.
Another interesting twist to the matter was provided by the head of legal services at the Equality Commission who said: “This case does not involve the usual Northern Ireland issue of religious discrimination between people of Protestant and Catholic background. It was held that the discrimination in this instance was between members of the Brethren community and employees who were not members of the Brethren community.”