Ekklesia reports on this in Christian charity found to have discriminated on grounds of religion.
An Employment Tribunal in Abergele has today unanimously found in favour of a former employee of a Christian charity who was claiming constructive dismissal and discrimination on grounds of religion or belief.
The Tribunal heard that Prospects, a Christian charity which receives public money for its work with people with learning disabilities, and which had previously employed a number of non-Christian staff and volunteers – including a number who were transferred to them under TUPE Regulations – acted illegally when in 2004 it began recruiting only practising Christians for almost all posts, and told existing non-Christian staff that they were no longer eligible for promotion.
Mr James Boddy, Barrister from 11 King’s Bench Walk Chambers, representing the claimant Mr Mark Sheridan, declared: “This is an important decision because it is the first time an employment tribunal has been called on to decide the extent to which an organisation with a religious ethos is allowed to discriminate on grounds of religion or belief…”
This story was reported in some detail last December, by Ruth Gledhill in The Times see Christian ‘forced to discrimate’ against non-Christian staff and on her blog at Christian claims discrimination ‘on grounds of religion’.
See also the BHA press release, Tribunal victory for employee in landmark religious discrimination case.
And Simon Barrow’s comments are here.
Simon Barrow, co-director of Ekklesia, said: “This judgement ought to make religious charities sit up and think – not just about their legal responsibilities and the morality of non-discrimination, but about the impact of their behaviour on their image with the public at large.”
He continued: “Leaders and entrepreneurs in many faith organisations seem reluctant to embrace a comprehensive equalities agenda, or to recognise their culpability in issues of discrimination. Yet they are often the first to seek exemptions from legislation accepted by others and to complain that they are being ‘attacked’ when criticisms are raised.”
“The Christian message of love and justice is undermined by poor employment and equalities practices in the Christian organisations. This is an opportunity for the churches to get their house in order.”