UK: Christian nurse wins discrimination case against hospital which told her not to wear gold cross at work

Thursday, January 13, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A UK Employment Tribunal has ruled that Christian nurse Mary Onuoha was discriminated against by a government-funded hospital which forced her out of her job for wearing a small gold cross necklace, Christian Concern (CC) reports.

Onuoha had been employed as a theater nurse practitioner at Croydon University Hospital in southern England for 19 years; she had worn the necklace every day as a symbol of her faith and commitment to Jesus, CC reports. The case arose when Onuoha was recently informed that her necklace posed a health and safety risk and “must not be visible,” CC reports. Other hospital staff, however, were allowed to wear jewelry, and items pertaining to their faith, such as saris, turbans, and hijabs.

When she refused to take the necklace off, Onuoha was moved to clerical duties and became subject to such bullying that she had to leave her job, the Daily Mail reports. Onuoha went on to file suit against Croydon Health Services NHS Trust on the grounds of harassment, victimization, direct and indirect discrimination, and constructive and unfair dismissal.

In January 2022, the Employment Tribunal ruled that Onuoha had been constructively dismissed in an unfair, discriminatory way. Employment judge Daniel Dyal found that the NHS Trust had created a “humiliating, hostile and threatening environment” for Onuoha.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Onuoha said: “This has always been an attack on my faith. At this hospital, there are members of staff who go to a mosque four times a day and no one says anything to them. Hindus wear red bracelets on their wrists and female Muslims wear hijabs in the theater. Yet my small cross around my neck was deemed so dangerous that I was no longer allowed to do my job.”