Religious Discrimination

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In Trayhorn v The Secretary of State for Justice the EAT held that it was not direct or indirect religious discrimination to discipline an employee who openly condemns homosexuality and spoke of repentance during a Prison church service.

In this case the claimant was a Pentecostal Christian who was disciplined after quoting from a passage from Corinthians 6 and elaborating on its contents which condemned homosexuality. Before the disciplinary was concluded, which imposed a final written warning, the claimant resigned claiming constructive dismissal. The ET held that he had not been constructively dismissed nor had he suffered religious discrimination.

The claimant relied on the following PCPs:
– Were Christians, either singly or as a group, at a disadvantage by the application of the Prison’s disciplinary and equality of treatment policies?
– Was the unwritten practice of not discussing homosexuality and Christian ethics a form of religious discrimination?

The EAT could not find any evidence to disagree with the ET’s finding that no religious discrimination had occurred. His treatment was not a direct reflection on his belief but rather on the way he manifested that belief. If it had been necessary to consider whether the PCPs pursued legitimate aims then the finding would have been that the aims of order and national security as advanced by the Respondent were wholly legitimate aims.

Written by

Edward Aston
29th August 2017