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Dismissal after comments against same sex adoption was not discrimination on religious grounds

The Equality Act 2010 offers protection to individuals from discrimination because of their religion or belief. This law applies to those that:-

  • Belong to an organised religion;
  • Have a profound belief which affects their way of lie or view of the world. This includes philosophical believes as well as religious believes;
  • Take part in collective worship
  • Belong to a smaller religion or sect, such as Scientology;
  • Have no religion, for example, they are an Atheist.

Discrimination at work could occur in a number of different ways, for example:-

  • Dismissing an individual because of their religion or  belief;
  • Advertising for job applicants of one religion only;
  • Requiring an employee to dress in a certain way which would not be acceptable for people of a certain religion;
  • Preventing an individual from wearing sacred items such as a Kara or headscarf;

In the case of Page v NHS Trust Development Authority the claimant, who was a practising Christian, made a number of remarks on national TV. Particularly, that it is not in the best interest of a child to be adopted by any other than a man and woman and that it is “not normal” to be adopted by a single parent or a same-sex couple. The Claimant’s employment as a Non-Executive Director was terminated as a result. He claimed that he was discriminated against due to his religious belief and brought claims of direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, victimisation and harassment. The Employment Tribunal dismissed his claims and the Claimant appealed. The Employment Appeals Tribunal held that a Tribunal is entitled to find that he was not subject to religious discrimination on the basis that he was dismissed because of the manner in which he had expressed his beliefs, rather than because of the beliefs themselves. The NHS Trust had acted reasonably in their treatment of the Claimant as he had spoken to the media without informing the Trust and he was aware that his conduct would be likely to have an adverse effect on the Trust’s ability to engage with sections of the community which it served.

If you are looking for any advice about Religious Discrimination or any other statutory rights under the Equality Act 2010 do not hesitate to contact a member of our Employment Team.