28 August 2014 #Employment
Using expletives with religious overtones can be common to hear on the street and when talking to friends or colleagues. For example, language such as “Oh my God” and “Jesus Christ” can be used to express surprise and disgust. In M v P Care Home Ltd the Employment Tribunal (“the ET”) assessed whether these expletives with religious overtones amounted to religious harassment.
M, a Christian care home nurse, was dismissed from the company and pursued a variety of claims in the ET including a claim for religious harassment. The basis for her religious harassment claim was that a manager regularly used expletives which had religious overtones in front of her and other colleagues. The manager’s evidence was that the remarks were not directed at M, were not intended to harass her and the manager used the same sort of language when M was not present.
In the circumstances the ET did not uphold the Claimant’s religious harassment claim. The ET held that it was not reasonable for the claimant to perceive language used by the manager as creating an adverse environment for her and the ET did not consider that the remarks related to the claimant`s religion. The ET held that the words were commonly used, albeit blasphemous, swear words and were not, in themselves, abusive to any religion.
Although M‘s claim for religious harassment was unsuccessful she was awarded £18,417 for her unfair dismissal claim.