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Inappropriate manifestation of religion can cause unfair dismissal
In Grace v Places for Children the EAT has upheld an Employment Tribunal decision that a Claimant who is dismissed following complaints from colleagues about the way in which she manifests her religious belief in the workplace had not been directly discriminated against because of her religion. The EAT held that the reason for her dismissal was not her religion but the inappropriate ways in which she had chosen to manifest it. These included unauthorised training sessions for staff causing complaints from some of them; the Claimant’s response to a pregnant member of staff revealing the contents of a dream to the Claimant, which scared the pregnant lady into believing she would suffer a miscarriage; and upsetting staff members when she told a colleague that something would happen in the nursery which would have a “massive ripple effect”.
Although the EAT acknowledged that the distinction between the religion itself and the manifestation of it was often difficult to establish, it was clear in this situation that the individual had been dismissed because of the inappropriate way in which she manifested her religion and not because of the fact that she practised it.
This legal update is provided for general information purposes only and should not be applied to specific circumstances without prior consultation with us.
For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222
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