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Religious Discrimination

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Is it direct or indirect religious discrimination to discipline an employee who condemns homosexuality and speaks of repentance during a Prison church service? No, held the EAT in Trayhorn v The Secretary of State for Justice.

The Claimant, a Pentecostal Christian, was disciplined for elaborating on a passage from Corinthians 6 which condemned homosexuality. He resigned claiming constructive dismissal before a disciplinary was concluded which imposed a final written warning. The ET held that he had not been constructively dismissed nor had he suffered religious discrimination.

The Claimant relied on three PCPs. Were Christians singly or as a group disadvantaged by the application of the Prison's disciplinary and equality of treatment policies and was the unwritten practice of not discussing homosexuality and Christian ethics religious discrimination?

The EAT found no evidence which could lead them away from the first instance tribunal's determination that no religious discrimination had occurred. It was not the manifestation of his belief that caused the treatment but the way in which he did so which went way beyond scripture. Had it been necessary to consider whether the PCPs pursued legitimate aims the finding would have been that the aims of order and national security are wholly legitimate. Appeal dismissed.

Thanks to Karen Jackson of didlaw for preparing this case summary.