Catholic nurse unfairly dismissed over cross necklace, UK tribunal rules

Light of Truth

A Catholic nurse was unfairly dismissed by a U.K. hospital trust for wearing a cross necklace, an employment tribunal ruled this week.
In a decision published on Jan. 5, the tribunal said that the trust’s treatment of Mary Onuoha was “directly discriminatory.”
The campaign group Chris-tian Concern hailed the verdict as a “landmark ruling” strengthening the legal principle that employers cannot discriminate against employees for “reasona-ble manifestations” of faith in the workplace.
Onuoha was forced to leave her job as a National Health Ser-vice (NHS) theatre practitioner at Croydon University Hospital in south London in June 2020 after a two-year battle with her employers over wearing the cross.
With support from the Christian Legal Centre, Christian Concern’s legal ministry, she took her case against Croydon Health Services NHS Trust to an employment tribunal.
At a hearing in October 2021, the trust argued that the cross necklace had presented an infection risk. But the tribunal concluded that the risk was “very low.”
It added that there was “no cogent explanation” of why religious head coverings such as hijabs and turbans were permitted under the dress code and uniform policy, but “a fine necklace with a small pendant of religious devotional significance is not.”
Christian Concern said that Onuoha, who was born in Nigeria and moved to the U.K. in 1988, was delighted and relieved by the ruling.

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