A Christian homelessness adviser lost his case against a London council that dismissed him after he mentioned God in the workplace.
An employment tribunal ruled that Wandsworth Council had acted reasonably in dismissing Duke Amachree for gross misconduct after he suggested to a client suffering from a terminal illness that she should not give up hope but try putting her faith in God.
The tribunal also found that the council had not discriminated against Amachree on religious grounds and that Amachree had breached confidentiality by publicizing his case.
Amachree had worked as a homelessness prevention officer with Wandsworth Council for 18 years prior to his dismissal in January 2009, two days after he was reported by his client. The complaint led to a six-month investigation into Amachree’s conduct and three interviews with the council.
Amachree was represented at the employment tribunal by the Christian Legal Center, which said it intends to appeal the decision.
“We are stunned that the tribunal failed to recognize the draconian way in which Mr. Amachree was treated and we are dismayed that they found that Mr. Amachree had not been discriminated against on the grounds of his faith," Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the Christian Legal Center, said.
“This decision will send yet more shock waves through the Christian community when they realize that a court has sided with the council in finding that a couple of comments encouraging faith in God is an act of gross misconduct.”
Amachree said he was “devastated” by the outcome.
“This is a sad day for Christians who simply want to live out their faith in the workplace without fear," he commented. "But my heartfelt thanks goes to the Christian Legal Center and those who have stood by me from the beginning and I know they will continue to support me.”