A Christian nurse claiming she was discriminated against by her employer has told a tribunal that removing her crucifix would violate her faith.
Shirley Chaplin said she was moved to a paperwork role by Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital, which she accuses of trying to “ridicule” her religion.
The trust claims it was motivated by health and safety concerns about patients grabbing necklaces.
In a 71-point statement, Mrs Chaplin, who wore the crucifix to the tribunal in her home city of Exeter, said she was “personally convicted” to wear the emblem, given to her as a confirmation gift in 1971.
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In one of the points, she said: “I have been a nurse for roughly 30 years and throughout that time I have worn my crucifix. The crucifix is an exceptionally important expression of my faith and my belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. To deliberately remove or hide my crucifix or to treat it disrespectfully would violate my faith.”
There were at least four reasons why it was so important, she told the tribunal. Firstly, to remind her of Jesus’s dying on the cross to remove her sins.
Secondly, it helped her identify with Jesus, thirdly, it was part of her identity, and fourthly it acted as “motivation”.
She started working for the trust continuously in 1989, being made a grade D nurse in 1994, and promoted to an E grade nurse on 2001.
The case will continue for an estimated six days before judgment is expected to be handed down.