A Christian nurse who refused to remove a crucifix at work has lost her discrimination claim against Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust.
Shirley Chaplin, 54, claimed the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust “violated her faith” after asking her to remove her crucifix necklace at work. When she refused she was moved to an administrative position.
After the hearing she said the result was “a very bad day for Christianity.”
The trust said health and safety was the issue in the case, not specifically the crucifix. They said concerns had been raised about patients grabbing necklaces.
The employment tribunal panel chairman John Hollow found against Mrs Chaplin, who had worn the emblem throughout her 30 years as a nurse.
Mr Hollow ruled the trust had acted in a “reasonable” manner in trying to reach a compromise.
In a 71-point statement, Mrs Chaplin, who wore the crucifix to the hearing in her home city of Exeter, said she was “personally convicted” to wear the emblem, given to her as a confirmation gift in 1971.
Asked about her future she said: “I don’t know. I wait to find out - but I will be going to work tomorrow.”
She vowed not to remove the crucifix, explaining: “I wouldn’t have gone this far if I was prepared to take it off.”
Following the ruling, a hospital spokesman said: “The tribunal decision has confirmed the trust has acted in an appropriate and sensitive manner in seeking to deal with the issues raised by Mrs Chaplin.
“At all times the trust has given the safety of staff and patients paramount importance. We are pleased that the panel agreed with this view and confirmed the actions we have taken to attempt to resolve this issue have been fair and reasonable and recognises the strenuous efforts that have been made to find a solution.”