Onuoha, 61, who had worked with Croydon University Hospital, claimed she had been “separated” and
“Persecuted” for her religion, after being ordered to conceal or remove her golden cross, while others
wore their jewelry and accessories without any harassment from hospital management.
âMy cross has been with me for 40 years. It’s part of me and part of my faith, and it never hurt anyone. Patients often tell me: “I like your cross very much” and they always respond positively to it.
and it gives me joy and makes me happy.
âIn this hospital, there are staff members who go to a mosque four times a day and no one tells them anything. Hindus wear red bracelets on their wrists and Muslim women wear the hijab in the theater,
but I was treated like a criminal. I love my job, but I’m not ready to compromise my faith for it, âsaid Onuha.
Following her refusal to remove the collar, Onuoha claimed that she had been “treated like a criminal”, investigated, suspended from clinical duties, demoted to receptionist and failed. had no choice but to resign later in the latter part of 2020.
As the Croydon employment tribunal hearing opens on Tuesday, hospital lawyer Ben Jones told the court the collars posed possible dangers to patients and staff.
âIf someone caught it, it could cut your neck. Necklace clasps are a bit tricky and sometimes they can fall off, âJones explained.
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He added that Onuoha had drawn the conclusion that she was “harassed” because she was a Christian, but said that she was instead confronted with her necklace because she was “a nurse wearing
something they shouldn’t.
Christian Legal Center chief executive Andrea Williams, representing Onuoha, said the hospital claimed that one or two staff were offended by his wearing of the cross.
and wondered why some National Health Service (NHS) employers would think the cross was less worthy of protection or display than other religious clothing.
âIt is heartbreaking that an experienced nurse, during a pandemic, was forced to choose between her faith and the profession she loves. The way Mary was treated for an extended period was appalling and cannot go unchallenged, âsaid Williams.
His lawyers claim that the hospital violated Onuoha’s freedom to manifest his faith under article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Equality Act.