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Unprecedented case

May 2014

A young Christian graphic designer, who sued a hotel claiming he was denied a job there because of his faith, has settled out of court.

Jamie Haxby, who was supported by the Christian Institute (CI), claimed that a manager at Colchester-based Prested Hall Hotel turned him down for a job because some staff who are atheists wouldn’t work with a Christian.

According to Mr Haxby, hotel manager Celie Parker interviewed him in December 2012 for a part-time job, to design promotional material.

During the interview, Mr Haxby said that the manager noted some work he had done previously for churches and allegedly told him that some of the people on her team were atheists and ‘could never work with a committed Christian’.

The CI claimed that Mr Haxby said he could hardly believe what he heard and felt angry and upset. He said, ‘I was not the kind of person who would preach at people or make them feel uncomfortable’.

In his claim, Mr Haxby stated that Ms Parker finally expressed regret for asking him to the interview and apologised for wasting his time. Legal experts said the case was unprecedented, as it had arisen simply because Mr Haxby is a committed Christian.

In March 2013, he filed a complaint with the East London employment tribunal for religious discrimination. Although the hotel disputed the claim, alleging that the job was given to a more experienced candidate, it has agreed to the settlement, and is making an undisclosed payment to Essex Air Ambulance. Mr Haxby has withdrawn his claim.

Colin Hart, CI director, said, ‘Our laws are designed to protect religious freedoms. It is important that people are able to exercise these freedoms, whether it be in their workplace or anywhere else’.

 

 

 

 

 

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