No discrimination claim for Christian NHS employee

2016-04-12 Jennifer Renney-Butland posted:

Businesses will be interested to note the recent decision of the Employment Appeal tribunal in the case of Wasteney v East London NHS Foundation Trust, in which the tribunal decided that disciplinary action taken against a Christian manager for imposing her religious views on a Muslim junior employee did not amount to religious discrimination.

Mrs Wasteney was thought to be over-zealous by her employer when it received complaints from a junior member of staff of Muslim faith that Mrs Wasteney had been inviting her to church events, sending her religious DVDs, and had given her a book about a Muslim woman who had converted to Christianity. The NHS Trust concluded that that Mrs Wasteney had failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries, bearing in mind her seniority, and issued her with a written warning with a recommendation of training.

Mrs Wasteney brought claims in the employment tribunal of direct discrimination and harassment on the ground of religion or belief and argued her right under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights to manifest her religious belief. However the Employment Appeal tribunal agreed with the NHS Trust that Mrs Wasteney had blurred professional boundaries and placed improper pressure on her junior colleague, which amounted to serious misconduct.

Employers wishing to avoid conflicts of this nature may want to consider introducing a policy whereby any promotion of religion is to be kept out of the workplace. For more information on discrimination laws contact us.

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