29 April 2010 #Employment
The Relate counsellor who was dismissed for refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples has today been refused permission to appeal the decision of the EAT which held that his dismissal was neither religious discrimination nor unfair.
Gary McFarlane was sacked by Relate Avon in 2008. He claimed the service had refused to accommodate his Christian beliefs.
The EAT held that Relate`s actions did not amount to direct discrimination because Mr McFarlane was not dismissed because he was a Christian; he was dismissed because he manifested his beliefs in a way contrary to his employer`s principles on equal opportunity.
The dismissal was also not indirect discrimination as Relate had justified its requirement for employees to follow its equal opportunities policy. Where an employee refuses to comply with their employer`s fundamental principles, the employer does not have to compromise in order to rely on the defence of justification.