Friday, May 23, 2008

British Tribunal Finds Religious Discrimination By Christian Charity Group

In Britain last week, an Employment Tribunal in Abergele (Wales) held in two cases that a Christian charity, Prospects for People With Learning Disabilities, violated Britain's Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. The British Humanist Association issued a release discussing the facts:

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 ... in 2004 ... began recruiting only practising Christians for almost all posts, and told existing non-Christian staff that they were no longer eligible for promotion.

The Equality Regulations have an exception where a particular religion or belief is a genuine occupational requirement. BHA Chief Executive Hanne Stinson said: "The Tribunal’s judgment makes clear that a court will make an objective assessment of what a 'religious ethos' is, and states that it is not for the religious organisation itself to define its ethos, where this does not accord with reality on the ground." The cases are Sheridan v. Prospects for People With Learning Disabilities, (May 13, 2008) and Hender v. Prospects for People With Learning Disabilities, (May 13, 2008). Today's Reading Evening Post discusses the allegations in each of the cases. Mark Sheridan was a manager who objected to being forced to hire only Christians. Louise Hender claimed she was denied a promotion because she was not a Christian.