Friday, October 09, 2009

Christian office worker sues Lewisham Council for unfair dismissal

'A Christian office worker, who was sacked for posting her personal views on homosexuality on a homosexual website, is suing her former employer for unfair dismissal.

Denise Haye, 25, from South London, is bringing a legal action against her former employer, Lewisham Council, which dismissed her from her job because she left comments on the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) website about homosexual practice being contrary to biblical teaching quoting passages from the Bible.

Denise Haye came across the LGCM website whilst looking for information about churches on-line. She says she did not realise that the website she came across was a website for homosexuals.

"I didn't know it was a lesbian and gay website at first," she said.

"There was an inquiry form page that I went onto, which invites you to give opinions, so I went on to witness to them."

"It wasn't with any malicious intent and it wasn’t with any hatred, it was out of sheer concern," she added.

Denise Haye was using her work computer outside her working hours as was permitted by the Council. When she posted her comments on the LGCM website she believed, in good faith, that her comments were confidential to the website. She was totally unaware that the e-mail account she used would be visible on the website.

Shortly after, Rev. Sharon Ferguson, a lesbian political activist and Chief Executive of the LGCM, complained to Lewisham Council. The Council’s response was to suspend her from work immediately "for further investigation". After six months Miss Haye was sacked from the job.

Rev. Sharon Ferguson commented on her complaint:

"The e-mail did not address the organisation or comment on our aims or statement of conviction, therefore I do not consider it to be in the form of feedback."

"Because the e-mail was sent from an organisation that has clear equality policies I felt it was important that they were aware of the very strong views held by one of their employees"

Rev. Ferguson is arguing that the content of the e-mail was "an unprovoked personal attack".

The case of Miss Haye is supported by the Christian Legal Centre. Andrea Minichiello Williams, Director of the Centre, said:

"It is wholly disproportionate to end someone's working career for the mere expression of orthodox Christian belief. It is an extraordinary state of affairs that a personal comment given in a confidential context to a website should lead to a person's dismissal"

Spokesman for the Lewisham Council said that they are unable to comment on the case in progress.'

Andrea Minichiello Williams

020 7467 5421

Christian Legal Centre

So lesbianism is not compatible with freedom of speech. I thought it was only men they did not fancy.

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