Born-again Christian’s religious discrimination and harassment claims fail

In Wasteney v East London NHS Trust, the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld an employment tribunal’s decision that issuing a disciplinary warning to an employee who preached Christianity to a more junior colleague, who is a Muslim, was not an act of religious discrimination; the warning was because she had subjected a subordinate to unwanted and unwelcome conduct, going substantially beyond ‘religious discussion’. In this article, Makbool Javaid, Partner and Head of Employment Law, examines the facts of the case and explains the reasons why the EAT ruled that the employer’s actions were not because of, and not related to, religion. Nor was there a breach of Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. As Makbool points out, the right to manifest one’s religious belief under Article 9, like many other rights, is constrained by the law and has a number of other limitations. This means the right cannot be exercised in a way which has a negative impact on the rights and freedoms of others.

This article first appeared in the CIPD People Management online magazine.

Link for CIPD Members

Link for non-CIPD Members: Wasteney v East London NHS Trust (PDF)