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Dismissal for inappropriate discussions about religion was fair

Makbool Javaid

In Kuteh v Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, K was a nurse who carried out pre-surgery assessments. Some patients complained that K had raised religious matters with them  during their assessments, including: asking one about his faith, and what he thought being a Christian meant, and saying to another, about to undergo major bowel surgery for cancer, that if he prayed to God he would have a better chance of survival. The Matron told K it was not appropriate to discuss religious views and K assured her it would not happen again. However, further incidents occurred including giving a patient a bible and, telling another patient that the only way he could get to the Lord was through Jesus and saying a prayer to him, which the patient described as “very bizarre” and “like a Monty Python skit”. K was dismissed for gross misconduct. Noting that the claim was one of unfair dismissal and not religious discrimination, nor for breach of human rights, the Court of Appeal confirmed the ET’s decision that K’s dismissal was fair. K gave an assurance she would not bring up religious matters but continued to do so. There was no ban on religious speech at work and even having regard to the importance of the right to freedom of religion, it was plainly open to the ET to conclude that this dismissal had not been unfair.

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