Making it illegal to state one's personal faith in the work place? This could became a reality in the United Kingdom after a judge ruled against a Birmingham, U.K., doctor who was dismissed after he sent a motivating prayer to fellow staff members at his hospital.
Unfortunately for Dr. David Drew, Employment Judge David Kearsley ruled that the motivational religious message was inappropriate and that his dismissal, as a result of refusing to comply with demands he not share faith materials, was appropriate.
According to Drew, 64, his issues with fellow Walsall Manor Hospital staff members began unfolding in 2008. It was during that year that a senior nurse reported that Drew was undermining her. As a result of the accusation, he was suspended and an investigation was undertaken. In the end, the charges waged against him were dismissed. But his problems didn't end there.
The Telegraph has more:
Following an independent review of his conduct, a report concluded that Dr Drew's religious language was inappropriate in a professional business setting.
He was told that such communication was unacceptable and that his religious beliefs should be kept to himself.
The report also criticised Dr Drew for sending a text message to a colleague, Rob Hodgkins, reading "Have a peaceful Christmas" which was perceived as an "aggressive and unwelcome intrusion" into his private time.
Dr Drew, a father of four who lives with his wife Janet, 61, in Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, refused to adhere to the report's recommendations and was dismissed for "gross misconduct and insubordination" three days before Christmas in 2010. He lost an appeal last April.
While speaking in an employment tribunal last week, Drew said that he was made to feel like a "religious maniac" and that he was merely attempting to rally and inspire his fellow workers. The judge, however, ruled that his behavior was unwelcome and that the decision to bar it had nothing to do with an anti-Christian bias. The Telegraph continues:
...Kearsley ruled that if complaints were made about Muslim or Hindu doctors who had quoted from holy texts, they too would be asked to refrain from such behaviour.
Similarly, if an atheist consultant caused unease by trying to educate his colleagues about "the works of Richard Dawkinsor Christopher Hitchens", he or she would be treated in the same way, the judge said.
The eight-day tribunal clearly wasn't favorable for Drew, who was accused by the hospital's chief executive, Sue James, of producing a "toxic environment." James said that he consistently complained about co-workers and that his religious mentions were divisive.
In the end, the judge ruled that the hospital was not anti-Christian in its handling of the situation and, as stated, that individuals of other faiths taking similar actions would have been punished accordingly.
"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," the judge concluded.
In the end, Drew lamented the judge's decision and said that it would have severe ramifications in the workplace.
"This means that you cannot be yourself in the workplace, you cannot say 'I am a Christian'," the doctor proclaimed. "Other people who have got other religions won't be allowed to either but of course what religion other people are because it is more visible. For example we would be in meetings when one or two of my colleagues who are Muslims would go across into a corner to pray."
Others, too, agree with Drew's assessment of the dangers of proclaiming that stating one's faith in the workplace is inappropriate.
"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," said Andrea Williams, who directs the Christian Legal Centre, a group that defends believers in the workplace. "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."
(H/T: The Telegraph)