A SENIOR staff member at an east-London hospital has taken the
NHS Trust to an employment tribunal this week, accusing it of
discriminating against her because of her Christian faith.
Victoria Wasteney, a senior occupational therapist at East
London NHS Foundation Trust, was accused of "bullying and
harassing" a Muslim colleague by praying with her, and lending her
a book about a Muslim woman who converted to Christianity.
Her colleague complained, and Miss Wasteney was suspended for
nine months while the NHS Trust investigated the allegations. In a
disciplinary hearing, it found her guilty of three charges of
misconduct related to the accusations of bullying and harassment -
praying with her colleague, giving her the book, and inviting her
to church events.
Miss Wasteney's case is being supported by the Christian Legal
Centre. Its chief executive, Andrea Minichiello Williams, said:
"The NHS is increasingly dominated by a suffocating liberal agenda
that chooses to bend over backwards to accommodate certain beliefs,
but punishes the Christian."
Miss Wasteney had told her colleague that she was a Christian,
but said that she was "very cautious, because our environment is
such that these things can be misconstrued, and, with her being
from a different faith background, I was mindful of being
respectful of that".
In a statement released by the Christian Legal Centre, she said
that she had invited the woman to church-organised events because
the woman was interested in the community work being done to combat
Later, when the woman was due to be off work for hospital
treatment, Miss Wasteney gave her a book to read during her
recuperation, featuring a Muslim woman and her encounter with
Christianity. When the woman came to her, upset about her health,
Miss Wasteney said that she offered to pray for her, and the woman
The employment tribunal was held on Tuesday, and a written
ruling is due in weeks.
In another case backed by the Christian Legal Centre, a
Christian magistrate, Richard Page, was this month found guilty of
serious misconduct by the Lord Chancellor, after telling colleagues
in an adoption case that he believed it was better for children to
be brought up by a mother and a father, rather than a gay
Mr Page, who has served as a JP in Kent for 15 years, expressed
the view during a closed-door consultation with colleagues in an
adoption case, and said that he could not support a gay
He has now been reprimanded and barred from sitting as a
magistrate until he has completed equality training.