Queens midwife's Christian discrimination claim thrown out
PUBLISHED: 14:58 04 August 2011 | UPDATED: 15:24 04 August 2011
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A Christian midwife who sued hospital bosses for making her wear scrub trousers rather than a dress in the operating theatre has lost her religious discrimination claim.
Devout Hannah Adewole, 45, from Seaton Point on Lower Clapton’s Nightingale Estate, claimed a command in the Bible forbids women from wearing trousers.
In Deuteronomy 22:5 (New International Version) it states: “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear womens clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does.”
She sought £7,000 in compensation from Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, but her claims of religious discrimination and harassment were thrown out at East London Employment Tribunal on Tuesday.
It ruled the strict uniform policy in force at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, Essex, where she works did not disadvantage Christians unduly as a group.
It concluded the policy was “legitimate and proportionate for infection control.”
Mrs Adewole had complained that Christian midwives were being treated less favourably than their Muslim colleagues.
Muslim midwives were allowed to vary standard uniform with their own hijabs and tops, the tribunal heard.
Mrs Adewole’s solicitor Lawrence Davies said she might appeal.
He said: “It is a very disappointing decision. We will await the full reasons before considering any appeal.”
Sue Lovell, head of midwifery at Queen’s Hospital, said: “The Trust is very sensitive to people’s religious beliefs and works hard to support and accommodate their wishes while still complying with our infection control and clinical policies.
“We strongly believed that we had done all we could to accommodate Mrs Adewole’s wishes and are pleased that the case has been dismissed.”
Mrs Adewole broke down as she told the tribunal how she was banned from wearing her preferred scrub dresses in the operating theatre.
But the tribunal heard that after complaining repeatedly to her bosses Mrs Adewole received two scrub dresses and others had been ordered for her.