NHS was right to suspend Christian health worker for ‘harassing and bullying’ Muslim colleague

It’s quite an odd case this. The BBC headline certainly catches the eye: NHS Christian worker loses appeal after ‘giving book to Muslim colleague’. I’m not sure the BBC is being completely neutral in its reporting, with its use of inverted commas surely making it bias in favour of the NHS Christian.

Let’s get to the story itself; Victoria Wastaney had given a colleague a book about a Muslim woman’s encounter with Christianity and asked her to church. Miss Wasteney said that she had “no idea” she was upsetting her. Working as a senior occupational therapist at the time, Miss Wasteney, who also prayed with her colleague, was suspended for nine months and given a written warning. Why? The NHS trust had found her guilty of harassing and bullying her colleague.

In a really simplistic way it looks over the top what both the NHS trust has done and how the courts have upheld their viewpoint – surely you are allowed to discuss your faith with other people? However I don’t think it’s as simple as the BBC have reported. I know people who’ve been given a religious book to read by a colleague, with the unspoken ‘you should read this as it’ll be good for you’ making them feel uncomfortable. A one off and its just a bit annoying, but if it happened repeatedly in different ways then I reckon you should clearly tell someone to efforts at converting you or if that doesn’t work report it to your boss so that people can stop harassing you in the workplace.

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