Another ‘persecuted’ Christian case fails

Another ‘persecuted’ Christian case fails

An employment tribunal has ruled that an NHS trust was right to discipline occupational therapist Victoria Wasteney, above, for offering to pray for a Muslim colleague and giving her a Christian book.

Wasteney, 37, offered to pray for a junior colleague when she was upset, and gave her a book about a Muslim woman who converted to Christianity.

The colleague, Enya Nawaz, later filed a report which said she had tried to convert her, an allegation which Wasteney says was a “complete surprise”.
Wasteney is a senior occupational health therapist at the John Howard Centre, a specialist mental health facility in east London.

She was suspended for nine months (on full pay) while the matter was investigated and subsequently given a written warning for “bullying and harassment”.

Wasteney, who is planning to appeal against the ruling, said in a statement:

I am extremely disappointed with the Tribunal’s decision to side with my employer. There is already an unnatural caginess around faith and belief which is an obstruction to building meaningful relationships in the workplace.

This decision will only perpetuate that, to the detriment of working relationships in the NHS.

She maintains that she tried to act in a sensitive way.

I knew she was from a different faith background and I was respectful of that. Surely there should be room for mutual conversations about faith, where appropriate, in the workplace?

Wasteney took the NHS trust to an employment tribunal to contest the decision, partly because she felt it was an issue that needs to be addressed at a societal level. She told Christian Today in January:

I’m not particularly fighting for myself. This needs to be something that’s talked about. We need to look at some of our policies in place, so that staff are clear about where they stand. Otherwise we’re going to have lots of people in this situation, not just Christians.

She also said that she now fears being seen at work as:

A religious nutcase. It looks like I’ve been suspended for inviting people for church, which basically makes me look kind of crazy.


Andrea Williams, above, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which has supported Wasteney’s case, said:

Victoria has been punished and left out in the cold for being honest and open about her faith. Are these the kind of workplaces we want, where people are forced to hide their identity and the things that matter most to them?

Williams added:

Such an environment is detrimental to meaningful working relationships and ultimately to productivity.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

24 responses to “Another ‘persecuted’ Christian case fails”

  1. Broga says:

    Andrea Williams looks like one scary woman. I think if I were in a room with her I would agree with whatever she said just to get the hell out of there. Those eyes!!! Wow. Does she know that combs have been invented? Her choppers look in good nick.

    Good to see our “people of faith” kicking lumps out of each other.

  2. L.Long says:

    Good for the tribunal….leave your phuckin religion at home you delusional unthinking twit. Andrea looks more like an early converted zombie ready to bite your neck.

  3. Stuart H. says:

    When you look at the employers involved in such cases (mostly local government), you can’t help wondering if they’re brought in the hope of a quick payoff as the LA involved can’t afford a court case.
    But I see CLC and their US sponsors are going down the employment tribunal route, rather than straight to court, these days, so I hope judges have now wised up to this scam enough to hit these timewasters with full court costs. It would be a public disgrace if rate and taxpayers keep funding both sides for a complete waste of court time.

  4. Broga says:

    @L.Long: If Andrea gets those choppers in your neck it’s game over. As for the Gorgon eyes. Look away fast.

    Dragging myself away from my paralysis from the Andrea effect and back to the subject: Victoria Wasteney is now going to feel very badly treated, victimised and persecuted. All good, well worn, typical Christian feelings. She will also be feeling martyred in the cause of a God who does not exist. Oh, the joys of being an atheist.

  5. Angela_K says:

    Wasteney will be seen as a religious nutcase and after this publicity more so. These religious types must learn to keep their fairy-tales to themselves, religion should not be in the workplace . I do wonder of the outcome if it was the muslim who allegedly tried to convert Wasteney.

  6. AgentCormac says:

    Andrea Williams must be getting awfully tired of making these humiliating, whining statements after yet another of her clients has their case kicked out.

  7. dennis says:

    “I wonder of the outcome if it was the muslim” well hopefully the same by the tribunal.

  8. Clive says:

    Victoria Wasteney is quite right when she says “….otherwise we’re going to have lots of people in this situation, not just Christians.”

    It is also a “crime”, against sharia law, to try to convert muslims (or anyone born into an allegedly ‘muslim’ society) to atheism, paganism, or even agnosticism, or to any post-‘enlightenment’ philosophical viewpoints.

    Personally, I couldn’t be bothered to commit that alleged ‘crime’ on an individual basis. There are far too many people in the world for me to try to convert them to my point of view, one at a time.

    But, I do demand the right to write and publish my views about totalitarian religion, or about anything else, to anyone who wishes to read about it. For doing this, we could, presumably, be fatwa’d for ‘trying to convert’ muslims en masse.

  9. Adrian says:

    “Are these the kind of workplaces we want, where people are forced to hide their identity and the things that matter most to them?”

    Yes, Andrea, we want people to leave their faith at the door and do the job they are employed for.
    Victoria,proselytising is not part of your job description so keep your religion to yourself.

  10. Me says:

    Christian…..I will pray for you and please read this may help you.

    Muslim….duuhhhuhhhh…….whaaaaa whaaaaaa whaaaaa boo hoo boo hooohoooohooo …I am offended….boo hoooo

    Muslim. She tried to convert me ..punish her. Whinge whine whinge bleat whine bleat bleat whine. It’s against sharia ..she is trying to make me a sharia criminal.

    Christian ….boo hoo boo hoo whaaaaa whaaaa whaaaaa boooooo hoooooohooooo boooo hoo whaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Christian support bigot …whine whine whinge whine bleat bleat bleat whine whinge bleat.

    Judge…..fuck off grow up.

    Christians ….whinge whinge whine booooohoooooo whine bleat whine whinge booooooooo hoooohoooooohooooooo

    Muslims . Oh yes …result or what….

    Sane rational atheist……..groan ..what a fucking waste of time.

  11. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    What Adrian said. I go to work to earn money, not to listen to superstitious bullshit. It’s called a workplace for a reason.

  12. gedediah says:

    It wasn’t professional to put her subordinate in such a position. But, suspended for 9 months on full pay, that’s what gets my goat more than anything.

  13. HVillar says:

    Maybe such cases should be televised in the future. Could be quite entertaining while serving as a warning to other religiots.

  14. Normand S. says:

    Now she’ll know what it feels like to be refused service in a store or being told an apartment cannot to rented to gays, etc. and all in the name of some stupid comment in a dusty old book written thousands of years ago by bare foot shepherds who believed the Earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the Earth. You bigots can dish it out but can’t take it so welcome to the club… you can be in my shoes. And as for the muslim who complained, I don’t have hours to waste to comment!

  15. Clive says:

    So, what if it had been an atheist getting the sack after being accused of trying to “convert” a muslim to atheism ? (presumably during the course of a normal social conversation, in which two people each stated their own religious or philosophical views). Would you all rant against the atheist in the same way as you are all ranting against the christian? If not, why not?

    I am not christian or muslim, but I would prefer to retain the right, for myself and others, to take to part in philosophical discussions of this sort.

  16. tonye says:

    Looking at the CLC’s success rate, if I was a Christian, I’d stick to prayer as, even on a 50/50 basis, it’s more effective than that lot.

  17. barriejohn says:

    Clive: I said something similar on the previous thread concerning this case and was shot down in flames! I can’t really imagine a workplace where religion and politics aren’t discussed (amongst other things) during free time, but others seem to have had different experiences to mine. These people can be intensely annoying (and I used to be one of the worst), but I love the chance to take them on nowadays. It is, of course, entirely inappropriate to “pull rank” over junior colleagues in an attempt to influence them (whether in favour of religion or not), and bringing up the subject of religion with clients or patients should be out of the question.

  18. barriejohn says:

    BTW The book I Dared to Call Him Father was very popular when I was a Christian. Evangelical Christians love these biographical books (and “testimonies”) by the more exotic types – the more lurid and shocking the better – and seem to suspend disbelief when dealing with such people (remember that From Witchcraft to Christ fiction by Doreen Irvine?). I think it might have something to do with their sheltered and boring lives – “missionary meetings” and any other gatherings with an “entertainment” aspect were invariably packed when I was a young man, whereas prayer meetings most definitely were not! Here’s a brief resume:

    Bilquis Sheikh, a highborn Pakistani woman, came to know the Lord in a very ‘supernatural’ way in 1966. I know all conversions are supernatural, just as all are radical and life changing but her experience involving prophetic dreams particularly reflects the former. The early chapters of the book move fairly quickly through the series of events that brought Bilquis to a full knowledge of God…

  19. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: “Dare to call him father.” Reminds me of a fundamentalist Christian I once worked with although he did more preaching than work. One of his regular quotes was “Dare to be a Daniel.” This seemed to be his comfort for all the antagonism he aroused with his attempts to convert us.

  20. barriejohn says:

    Broga: They love playing the victim card – just think of Bob Hutton!

    “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matt. 5:11&12 KJV)

    They can’t lose, can they?

  21. Vanity Unfair says:

    The John Howard Centre is a medium secure forensic health service. If that is not clear then, in old-fashioned, non-aware terms they deal with people once described as criminally insane. I can see that people working there could easily become upset and need the comfort and care that they give their patients.
    In this case I feel that:
    “Wasteney, 37, offered to pray for a junior colleague when she was upset, and gave her a book about a Muslim woman who converted to Christianity.”
    must be looked at in two separate parts.
    “[O]ffered to pray for” could easily be merely offering comfort . I see no problem with that as an adjunct to practical help. It won’t do any good but it won’t harm either. As a replacement, of course, it can be reason for complaint. It’s rather like saying “God bless” when taking leave.
    However, the second part, the book on such a delicate subject, really deserves more thought and I can see why the recipient would feel insulted. People who have invested a lot of their lives in something as personal as a religion just do not like being told that they have wasted their efforts. And at a time of trouble it really is insensitive. I know it’s true but it’s neither the right time nor place. A course in cultural awareness should be part of the training for a job like this.
    Anyway, an appeal has been lodged so we have not heard the last of this case yet.
    And “Wasteney, 37”? Is there any need for the appended age?

  22. Marky Mark says:

    (However, the second part, the book on such a delicate subject, really deserves more thought and I can see why the recipient would feel insulted. People who have invested a lot of their lives in something as personal as a religion just do not like being told that they have wasted their efforts. And at a time of trouble it really is insensitive.)

    …or, maybe the christian women was tired of, and sensitive to, seeing Muslims cutting off christian heads on the internet, seeing muslims shoot-up news papers, bomb buildings and shopping squares…burn children alive for insulting their book of fairytales’…

    …that should be her defense!

  23. Cliff Claven says:

    Clive: I’ve worked for almost 40 years. In all that time, religion has come up once at work. In most of my jobs it never came up at all. I make a point of not converting people at work to atheism. Why? Because it’s the workplace. You can’t escape, people are often either in a position of power or a position of weakness. Either way, it’s not ethical.

    I happen to be lucky too, the place where I live most people keep their religion personal.

  24. Bubblecar says:

    I’d like to know why a disciplinary action that resulted in a mild telling-off somehow necessitated her being granted a 9 month paid holiday at public expense. Seems ludicrous.