A recent case from the Employment Appeal Tribunal has decided that an employee who was dismissed for refusing to work with fellow employees who were homosexual was not directly discriminated against on the grounds of religion. In McFarlane v Relate Avon Limited the EAT concluded that it was the employee’s failure to respect the employer’s equal opportunities rules rather than his Christian beliefs that resulted in the dismissal. In addition the dismissal was not held to be indirect discrimination because it was a proportionate method of realising the legitimate aim of supporting the community in a non-discriminatory fashion.
On a related note, the Court of Appeal has handed down its judgement in Ladele v London Borough of Islington . This case is better known as “The Christian Registrar Case”. Ms Ladele was a Christian Registrar who refused to carry out civil ceremonies involving non-heterosexual couples. As a result she was dismissed from her post. Ms Ladele then claimed that she had been discriminated against under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. The Court of Appeal has held that there is nothing in the Regulations that entitled Ms Ladele to refuse to carry out such civil ceremonies and that she had not been discriminated against either directly or indirectly. Nor was she harassed contrary to the Regulations.