The NHS therapist disciplined for giving a book to a Muslim colleague, has lost her appeal against the employment tribunal’s ruling.
In April 2016, Judge Eady QC upheld the tribunal’s ruling that the NHS had acted reasonably in disciplining Victoria Wasteney for inviting her colleague to church-related events, praying with her (with consent) and giving her a Christian book.
The Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which is supporting Ms Wasteney, is consulting with her to consider how to respond to the judgment. In a statement, the CLC said the court ruling raised ‘serious questions as to whether any Christian in a position such as Ms Wasteney’s will be protected, if they manifest their faith in the workplace’.
Ms Wasteney, head of forensic occupational therapy at a London hospital, was suspended for nine months and received a written warning following allegations of ‘harassment and bullying’ by a Muslim staff-member.
An internal disciplinary panel dismissed five complaints against her, but upheld the three that went through to the tribunal. In April 2015, the employment tribunal ruled her NHS employer had acted reasonably in disciplining her.
Following a hearing in October 2015, she was granted permission to appeal, after Judge Eady QC said the Employment Appeal Tribunal should consider whether the original ruling had properly applied the European Convention on Human Rights’ strong protection of freedom of religion and expression.
Ms Wasteney said, ‘I believe the NHS singled me out for discipline because Christianity is so disrespected. Previously, a Christian worship service I set up for patients was closed down, but accommodation for Muslims to practise their faith wholly facilitated and encouraged’.