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Electrician alleges more resistance

04 August 2011

by Ed Beavan

COLIN ATKINSON, an electrician who was asked to remove a palm cross from the dashboard of his van by his employers (News, 21 April), says that he has been suspended from his job.

Mr Atkinson, who had displayed the cross in his vehicle for 15 years, was asked by his employers at Wake­field and District Housing Associ­ation (WDH) to remove the cross after a complaint from a tenant.

After a meeting with his employers, Mr Atkinson was permitted to display the cross in a vertical position rather than flat on the dashboard.

But the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which has supported Mr Atkinson in the dispute, said this week that he had been suspended “after being continually harassed since his return”. He had suffered “continual problems”, and had “not been allowed to carry out his job properly”.

Mr Atkinson said that his van had been taken away from him, and that he was told to travel by bus. He was moved to an office 16 miles away. The CLC said that Mr Atkinson had now lodged a grievance against his em­ployers. “I have not done any­thing wrong,” Mr Atkinson said. “I just want to return to my normal work­place.”

A spokesman for WDH said that he could not comment on the situ­ation.

Midwife loses claim

Hannah Ade­wole, a midwife at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, in Essex, has lost a claim of religious dis­crimination and harassment against her employers, after she was asked to wear scrub trousers in the operating theatre.

Mrs Adewole said that wearing trousers went against verses in the Bible which said that women should not wear men’s clothing. She told the tribunal that Muslim midwives were allowed to vary their official uniform with hijabs, and that she was being treated less favourably than her Muslim colleagues by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Mrs Adewole told the tribunal that she “wholeheartedly” followed the words of the Bible, and she believed that wearing dresses rather than trousers was “a mandatory require­ment in order to adhere to the scriptures”. Deuteronomy 22.5 says: “A wo­man must not wear men’s cloth­ing . . . for the Lord your God detests any­one who does.”

Mrs Adewole is now considering an appeal.


Question of the week: Should Mrs Adewole be forced to wear trousers?

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