Doctor Sacked For Emailing Prayer Loses Court Battle

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: May 3, 2012

Christian doctor who was sacked for emailing a prayer to his colleagues has lost his clam for unfair dismissal, after an Employment Tribunal ruled that there was “no need” for religious references to be made at work.

Dr David Drew (aged 64) took legal action against Walsall Manor Hospital after he was dismissed for e-mailing a motivational prayer by St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, to his department, stating that his colleagues had made him feel like a “religious maniac” for circulating the message.

However, Employment Judge David Kearsley ruled that the hospital had not acted unlawfully in sacking Dr Drew because discussions about religion should be avoided if considered “inappropriate.” He said: “There is no need for such assertions in professional communication nor was there a need to make religious references if they are considered inappropriate and if they hinder proper communication.”

One employee also complained about a text message that Dr Drew had sent wishing him “a peaceful Christmas”. An independent investigation subsequently conducted into Dr Drew's behavior, ordered him to “refrain from using religious references in his professional communications, verbal or written”. Dr Drew rejected the recommendations and was subsequently dismissed after refusing to accept a “bribe” from hospital bosses to leave quietly.

Dr Drew said: “The allegation that I have forced my religion onto other people, that I am some kind of religious maniac, was made worse by the fact that they told me there was no need to understand what this is all about. This means that you cannot be yourself in the workplace, you cannot say 'I am a Christian.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, commented: “This is like the shutting down of identity. This approach to Christians is like forcing them to deny their identity – being Christian isn't something which you take off when you go to work. To say that it is not appropriate to say that you are a Christian at work is to totally misunderstand our history, our heritage, freedom under the law, freedom of religion, it is deeply illiberal, it is wrong.”

We thank Christian Concern for reporting!

Sources and further information:

The Telegraph

Daily Mail

Christian Concern