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Christian Preaching and Discrimination

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Ms Wasteney was issued with a formal warning after complaints were made by a junior colleague of Muslim faith about her behaviour. The allegations included Ms Wasteney praying with the colleague, the laying on of hands, giving the colleague a book which concerned conversion to Christianity of a Muslim woman and inviting the Muslim colleague to various services and events at Ms Wasteney’s church.

Having been issued with a formal warning for serious misconduct for blurring of professional boundaries and subjecting the junior colleague to improper pressure and unwanted conduct, Ms Wasteney claimed direct discrimination and harassment because of/related to her religion or belief.

After the Employment Tribunal rejected these claims, she appealed. The Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed that there had been no such discrimination.

The EAT drew a distinction between merely manifesting a religious belief and improperly promoting religious belief in a way that was not consensual. Ms Waveney had also alleged that she was disciplined for acts that were protected by Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights – the right to manifest her religious belief. This argument also failed.

Case reference – Wasteney v East London NHS Foundation Trust UKEAT/0157/15

Written by
Rachael Jessop
11th April 2016