The Daily Mail recently had a story about Mary Onuoha, a nurse who was forced out of her job by Britain’s Croydon Health Services NHS Trust (CHS) for wearing a small crucifix.
She had been working for CHS since 2001 and for 13 years had worn her crucifix at the London hospital without incident.
But that all changed in 2014 when she was asked to take it off because the small cross could spread bacteria. When she refused, they moved Onuoha to a desk job.
Then she was told to remove it or hide it beneath her uniform, and when she again said no, Onuoha was essentially harassed out of her job.
She refused because people of other faiths were allowed to wear religious items on the job, including hijabs for Muslim women and red bracelets for Hindus.
Onuoha told the Daily Mail:
‘Hindus wear red bracelets on their wrists and female Muslims wear hijabs in theatre. Yet my small cross around my neck was deemed so dangerous that I was no longer allowed to do my job.’
And as the harassment ramped up, Onuoha believed she was being targeted because of her Christian faith.
The Daily Mail explains what happened next:
Having been signed off with stress, last October she brought a legal case against Croydon Health Services NHS Trust on the grounds of harassment, victimisation, direct and indirect discrimination, and constructive and unfair dismissal.
Last week her case ended in victory when employment judge Daniel Dyal found that Mary had been constructively dismissed in a way that was both unfair and discriminatory.
He said the trust had created a ‘humiliating, hostile and threatening environment’ and that when Mary complained, the response had been ‘offensive and intimidating’.
It is a vindication, albeit a bittersweet one, for Mary as she believes the case exposes the hostility and discrimination experienced by many Christians in the workplace, a view shared by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey.
READ: Hospital staff wore hijabs and went to mosque four times a day… yet my little cross was deemed so dangerous I lost the job that I loved: Christian nurse forced out for wearing a crucifix tells her troubling story for the first time