Clarkslegal LLP - Solicitors in Reading and London

Legal Updates

Relating religious doctrine to modern society

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.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Read more articles

Helen Beech

Helen Beech

T: 0118 9604 639
M: 07747 620 379


Employment team
+44 (0)118 958 5321