Cross to bear
A Christian nurse has been forced to accept an offer of redeployment for refusing to take off her confirmation cross.
Shirley Chaplain, aged 54, has been a nurse in Exeter for nearly 30 years, and has worn her confirmation cross on a necklace around her neck since she was a trainee.
Chaplain was threatened with disciplinary action after NHS bosses said that the cross must be removed from sight. Bosses at the Royal Devon & Exeter Trust Hospital said it was a breach of uniform policy and a health risk to herself and to patients.
This smacked of bureaucracy, especially as there is photographic evidence to prove that other doctors and nurses wear jewellery outside of their uniforms, while Muslim staff were allowed to wear scarves.
Although there had never been any accident relating to her chain and cross, and no complaints from patients about it, Chaplain was removed from her post and redeployed to a non-nursing role.
Chaplain is taking legal action against this on the grounds of religious discrimination. The Christian Legal Centre is defending her case at the employment tribunal.