Religious beliefs vs national security: Storey v GCHQ

Might strongly-held religious views disqualify one from working in an organisation involved in sensitive matters of national security?

In Storey v Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) (National Security) [2015] UKEAT 0269 14 2210 the answer was, in certain circumstances, “yes” – though a heavily-qualified “yes” because there were concerns about the applicant’s mental health.

The facts

Mr Storey applied for a job at GCHQ. Eighteen months later, his application for employment was rejected because that he was regarded as unsuitable for “Developed Vetting”. After psychological assessment and psychometric tests, an assessor concluded that

“Mr Storey had experienced psychotic episodes in the past and there was a risk that he would experience psychotic episodes in the future. This could result in behaviours which would interfere with his work and pose a potential serious security risk. There were concerns about Mr Storey’s integrity and reliability” [16].

Mr Storey claimed unlawful discrimination on grounds of disability and religion or belief. Continue reading