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Christian nurse takes crucifix row to tribunal


A Christian nurse who claims she has been prevented from expressing her religious beliefs after being asked to remove a crucifix necklace is to be heard at an employment tribunal next week.

Shirley Chaplin was re-assigned to an office role when she refused to take off the necklace at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital last September.

She will begin her case for discrimination on religious grounds in her home city of Exeter.

The trust said the policy was administered due to health and safety fears about patients grabbing necklaces. It said the policy was nothing to do with the crucifix specifically.

The court must decide if her employer “subjected her to discrimination on grounds of her religion” after attempts to resolve the matter failed, the trust said.

Previously employed on the infection and isolation ward caring for the elderly and vulnerable, she has been redeployed to a nursing administration role.

That is “with full pay protection, pending ongoing attempts to find an acceptable compromise”, the trust added.

Lynn Lane, the trust’s human resources director, said: “For the trust, this has always been about compliance with our agreed uniform policy and the safety of staff and patients.

“Sadly, it appears that Mrs Chaplin may have been deflected from agreeing a sensible and pragmatic resolution of this dispute by the involvement of other parties outside the trust.”


Readers' comments (33)

  • A nurse's religion is personal and what they wear and how they present within that arena is entirely up to them.
    A uniform policy is what it states, A Uniform Policy.
    All nurses should adhere to it. If you cannot, then 1. why did you enter the profession and 2. Why dont you just leave it.
    We professionals want smartly presented people who wear their uniform properly and with pride.

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  • If she was a muslim they would be falling over themselves to accommodate her demands. They re-design uniforms especially for muslims in my Trust. So I am not going to criticise her for wearing the cross, this is England after all. However, I would prefer if people wore neither.

    She won't get anywhere as a British Christian in the UK though! I'd love to be re-deployed into a nursing administration role on full salary and get off the ward

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  • i can not believe the time, hot air, etc that has been wated on this subject freedom of speech with standing
    uniform rules are rules if you dont want to adhere to rules dont nurse, easy as that purely from an infection prevention view anything that we wear attracts germs do we really want to take home hospital bugs ?

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