Roman Catholic Firemen Disciplined for Refusal to Attend Rally Which Mocked their Faith

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: January 21, 2012

A group of nine firemen from Glasgow, including several Roman Catholics, were disciplined by their employers for refusing to march in a ‘gay pride’ rally. Strathclyde Fire Board apologized after legal steps were taken.

In previous years the Pride Scotia rally had mocked the Roman Catholic Church. Several firemen therefore refused to hand out fire safety leaflets at the march. The men were consequently given written warnings and were ordered by their employer, Strathclyde Fire Board, to undergo ‘diversity’ training. Strathclyde Firemaster Brian Sweeney said at the time that the incident would be “placed on their personal record file” and could damage their careers. One of the firemen, John Mitchell, sought to overturn the disciplinary decision. After several unsuccessful internal appeals, he took the matter to an Employment Tribunal. Days before the hearing was due, Strathclyde Fire Board admitted they had failed to take account of his religious beliefs. Mr Mitchell was awarded damages and received an apology from his employers. Sources: