Discriminatory Dismissal of Christian employee

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An employment tribunal has held that a Christian nursery employee was directly and indirectly discriminated against by her employer in the case of Mbuyi v Newpark Childcare (Shepherds Bush) Ltd.

The discrimination was on the grounds of her religion or belief following her dismissed for expressing negative views about a colleague’s homosexuality. The employee did not have the qualifying service to bring a claim for unfair dismissal and the tribunal expressed the view that dismissal for inappropriately manifesting a religious belief could be a fair dismissal depending on the circumstances. It did however dismiss her claim for harassment as the evidence was not that it was unwanted conduct but that she welcomed the opportunity to discuss her religious beliefs.

In this case, the employer made numerous procedural failings in the disciplinary process which may be forgiven for a non-contractual disciplinary policy for a short service employee. However, here the failings shifted the burden of proof to the employer who could provide no reasonable explanation for its treatment of the employee. The Claimant was therefore able to succeed in her claim, which the tribunal found to be based on stereotypical negative assumptions of her beliefs.

4th July 2015