A Christian nurse will right now inform an employment tribunal that she was bullied out of her job for wearing a cross round her neck at work.
NHS theatre practitioner Mary Onuoha says she confronted a marketing campaign by bosses at Croydon University Hospital to make her take away the gold image.
She had been a workers member for 18 years and had worn the piece of jewelry for 40 years to mark her deep Christian religion.
But from 2015, she claims a succession of managers instructed her to take away the merchandise from round her neck or the matter would face ‘escalation.’
She claims affected person security was risked in an working theatre to self-discipline her and her head of division even mentioned he must name safety if she wore it in a medical space.
Mrs Onuoha was instructed her small gold cross was a well being and security danger and ‘should not be seen’.
NHS theatre practitioner Mary Onuoha is taking her former employers to a tribunal claiming she confronted a marketing campaign by bosses at Croydon University Hospital to make her take away her cross
Pictured: Mary Onuoha on the South London Employment Tribunal Building Croydon right now
However, she says different medical workers members at Croydon University Hospital in South London have been permitted to put on jewelry, saris, turbans, and hijabs and solely the cross was topic to particular sanction.
For her continued refusals, the religious Christian was investigated, suspended from medical duties and demoted to working as a receptionist, which she discovered deeply humiliating, she claims.
She says she was compelled off work with stress in June 2020 and believed she confronted no various however to resign later that yr.
Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Mrs Onuoha will now problem Croydon Health Services NHS Trust on the grounds of harassment, victimisation, direct and oblique discrimination, and constructive and unfair dismissal.
Mrs Onuoha’s legal professionals will argue that the Trust has breached her freedom to manifest her religion below Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights and the Equality Act.
The listening to is being held at Croydon Employment Tribunal with Mrs Onuoha’s proof commencing right now.
Pictured: Croydon University Hospital the place Mrs Onuoha ended her employment as a result of stress
Mrs Onuoha will state that she was ‘handled like a prison’ by her employer and her case will carry into query the liberty of Christians to manifest their religion within the office, particularly compared to members of different faiths.
Mrs Onuoha got here to the UK in 1988 and has labored at Croydon University Hospital for 19 years.
Each day she wore the cross round her neck with none complaints or well being and security issues from colleagues or sufferers however she claims from 2015, she was requested to both take away her cross or conceal it, which she refused.
The subject was escalated in August 2018 when bosses ordered her to take away the cross saying it was a breach of the belief’s Dress Code and Uniform Policy and due to this fact a well being danger to her and to sufferers.
Mrs Onuoha’s legal professionals will argue that the gown code was utilized inconsistently, with different nurses and members of workers ceaselessly wearing numerous sorts of jewelry, hijabs, saris, turbans and non secular bracelets in wards and theatre with out being requested to take away them.
They declare Mrs Onuoha was required always to put on a number of lanyards while on the similar time the Trust claimed that wearing objects from the neck, resembling her chain with a cross, posed a ‘danger of harm or an infection’.
Pictured: Mrs Onuoha says she has worn the gold cross as a mirrored image of her religion for 40 years
On August 21, 2018, Mrs Onuoha claims she was in cost of a workforce working in theatre supporting a affected person who was below basic anaesthetic.
While the affected person was on the surgical procedure desk, Mrs Onuoha’s supervisor got here into theatre and demanded that she take away or conceal her cross instantly.
After refusing to take away it, Mrs Onuoha, 61, was instructed to depart the theatre to hide the cross by placing on an extra scrub again to entrance, on prime of the one she was appropriately wearing.
Mrs Onuoha mentioned she couldn’t depart the affected person.
Her supervisor mentioned that the junior workers might stay with the affected person while she eliminated or coated up her cross.
Mrs Onuoha, nonetheless, once more refused to depart the affected person. She claims administration then returned with one other senior workers member insisting she left to alter.
Lawyers for Mrs Onuoha (left) declare well being and security causes are contradictory as a result of she was required to put on a number of lanyards spherical her neck (proper) whereas working on the hospital
Mrs Onuoha was requested what she needed to do after which, in the long run, was instructed to hold on however that the cross wanted to be eliminated by a specified time later that day.
At the identical time, throughout the identical operation, she says a blue pendant and earrings being worn by the anaesthetist have been utterly ignored.
In April 2019 she was given a last written warning however left work with stress in June 2020 after being moved to a sequence of administrative roles and resigned in August 2020.
Mrs Onuoha mentioned: ‘This has all the time been an assault on my religion.
‘My cross has been with me for 40 years. It is a component of me, and my religion, and it has by no means brought about anybody any hurt.
‘Patients typically say to me “I really like your cross”, they all the time reply to it in a constructive method and that provides me pleasure and makes me really feel completely happy. I’m proud to put on it as I do know God loves me a lot and went via this ache for me.
Pictured: Mary Onuoha arrived on the South London Tribunal centre this morning
‘At this hospital there are members of workers who go to a mosque 4 instances a day and nobody says something to them. Hindus put on crimson bracelets on their wrists and feminine Muslims put on hijabs in theatre.
‘Yet my small cross round my neck was deemed so harmful that I was now not allowed to do my job.
‘From a younger age I naturally all the time needed to care for folks – it was in my blood. All I’ve ever needed is to be a nurse and to be true to my religion.
‘I’m a powerful girl, however I’ve been handled like a prison. I really like my job, however I’m not ready to compromise my religion for it, and neither ought to different Christian NHS workers on this nation.’
Andrea Williams, chief govt of the Christian Legal Centre representing Mrs Onuoha, mentioned: ‘From the start this case has been about one or two members of workers being offended by the cross – the worldwide, recognised and cherished image of the Christian religion.
‘It is upsetting that an skilled nurse, throughout a pandemic, has been compelled to decide on between her religion and the career she loves.
‘Why do some NHS employers really feel that the cross is much less worthy of safety or show than different non secular apparel?
‘How Mary was handled over a sustained interval was appalling and can’t go unchallenged.
‘Mary’s entire life has been devoted to caring for others and her love for Jesus. We are decided to combat for justice.’
Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Mrs Onuoha will now problem Croydon Health Services NHS Trust on the grounds of harassment, victimisation, direct and oblique discrimination, and constructive unfair dismissal.
The listening to will start at 10am at Croydon Employment Tribunal.
The belief has been approached for remark.