IT IS TIME TO STAND UP FOR OURSELVES
A Catholic Mental Health Worker has been sacked by the NHS for gross misconduct. What was her offence? Treating elderly patients with callous disregard? Physically abusing mental patients? Ignoring patients who cried out for water? No, it was none of these. The charge against her is that she ‘distributed material which individuals may find offensive’.
Her ‘gross misconduct’ in fact arose from an amicable discussion with a colleague, NOT a patient, who worked as a receptionist organising abortion appointments. In the course of which she handed over the booklet Forsaken in which five women recount their experience of abortion and the mental problems they suffered afterwards. The colleague did not object to receiving the book and indeed is not being called as a witness by the NHS. The booklet contained no graphic images, and it was never suggested that it should be given to patients. The NHS objects to it because the booklet presents a ‘religious view’ of abortion, because one of the women talking about how she now views her Abortion regards it as a sin. Is the expression of a religious view now a sacking offence in Britain?
The Mental Health Worker’s case is being fought at the Central London Employment Tribunal on November 15th. Her legal representation is being provided by the Thomas More Legal Centre. In addition, we are planning to bring a case against the NHS in the County Court under the Human Rights Act for failure to respect the nurse’s right to freedom of expression, and her right to freedom of religion. Winning such a case would set an important precedent in defending the rights of Catholics to discuss their faith and beliefs with colleagues without fear
The Thomas More Legal Centre has a strong track record of dealing successfully with similar cases of discrimination through quiet representation of clients’ interests to employers who may have misinterpreted the law and failed to respect freedom of religion. The Centre has for example successfully represented a Catholic trainee Doctor who was told he would not be allowed to qualify unless he referred patients for Abortions, and also successfully represented two Catholic Nurses who were moved to an Abortion Clinic against their wishes. It has done this voluntary legal work supported by very modest funds to cover inescapable expenses of the charity. The Trustees have always felt that they should not make any public appeal for funds for the charity until a case arose which would have to go to court.
That time has now come. We are appealing for help from everyone who believes in the freedom for Catholics to say what they believe and keep their jobs. We need funds to meet the costs of legal representation and, as there are no certainties however strong the case, to cover the risk of County Court costs being awarded against our client (which could be up to £25,000). And we need prayer.
The Thomas More Legal Centre is pursuing the case in the confidence that the Catholic community will come together to support this Mental Health Worker. Because this is not just an injustice being done to an individual, it is a threat to the freedom of the whole Catholic community to express its beliefs.
Donations can be made by cheque (made out to Thomas More Legal Centre) to The Treasurer, Thomas More Legal Centre, Palmyra Chambers, 46 Legh Street, Warrington WA1 1UJ; or by bank transfer to Yorkshire Bank, 34 Princes Street, Stockport, Cheshire, SK1 1RE; sort code 05-09-33, account no. 43102195 (Thomas More Legal Centre). If you are a UK tax-payer making a gift by cheque, please send a signed statement with your name and address asking for the donation to be treated as Gift Aid.
Thank you for standing up for Catholic freedom.
Richard Kornicki CBE
Chairman of Trustees
As I pointed out in my previous post, you can also donate via their www site.