Christian Nurse Fired for Wearing a Cross Necklace Wins Employment Case
Mary Onuoha, a former NHS nurse, won her claim of constructive dismissal after being fired for refusing to stop wearing a small gold cross she’d been given at her baptism. Ms Onuoha is a 61 year old immigrant from Nigeria. She had worked at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust for almost 20 years.
In a story carried but the Mail On Sunday, “Employment Judge Daniel Dyal determined that Ms Onuoha had been constructively dismissed in a way that was both unfair and discriminatory.” In his judgement Judge Dyal said that the Croydon Trust had created a “humiliating, hostile and threatening environment” going further he said that the response had been “offensive and intimidating.”
Speaking of the necklace, Ms Onuoha said, “Every time I look at it, I think of Jesus, His love, how much He loved me, and the need for me to love Him back.”
In her interview with the Mail on Sunday, Ms Onuoha explained some of what she’d been through over the last few years.
“This has always been an attack on my faith. My cross has been with me for more than 40 years. It is part of me, and my faith, and it has never caused anyone any harm.
“At this hospital there are members of staff who go to a mosque four times a day and no one says anything to them.
“Hindus wear red bracelets on their wrists and female Muslims wear hijabs in theatre. Yet my small cross around my neck was deemed so dangerous that I was no longer allowed to do my job.” She continued; “I love my job, but I am not prepared to compromise my faith for it, and neither should other Christian NHS staff in this country.”
The financial compensation for Ms Onuoha will be decided at a later date. She has found another job.
She told the Mail on Sunday: “I am so pleased that the tribunal has defended freedom to worship God,’ she says. ‘I know there are other Christians across the country experiencing similar issues to me – and I hope this encourages all of them to be courageous.”
Ms Onuoha was legally supported in her claim by the Christian Legal Centre.