Christian social worker says job offer was rescinded over his beliefs on sexuality

University of Sheffield MA student Felix Ngole has been granted the legal right to dispute his expulsion case.
University of Sheffield MA student Felix Ngole has been granted the legal right to dispute his expulsion case. | (PHOTO: FACEBOOK/FELIX NGOLE)

A social worker from the United Kingdom is taking legal action for alleged religious discrimination after a job offer at a hospital was withdrawn due to his traditional Christian stance on homosexuality and marriage.

U.K. resident Felix Ngole is challenging the withdrawal of the job offer to work at Wakefield Hospital at the Leeds Employment Tribunal this week with the help of the Christian Legal Centre.

He is making claims under the Equality Act for "discrimination, harassment, indirect discrimination and compensation for injury to feelings." 

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Ngole claims he was refused a job opportunity working with the National Health Service after his "very strong views" about homosexuality and marriage were discovered by the organization recruiting for the position. 

Ngole was originally recruited to manage the discharge of patients with mental health conditions back into their communities by the healthcare organization Touchstone Support Leeds. 

According to CLC, Ngole was told by Touchstone's chief executive, Kathryn Hart, that the employment offer was rescinded because he was no longer suitable for the open position. 

"In particular we have uncovered some information about [Mr Ngole] that does not align with Touchstone Leeds' ethos and values," the Ngole was informed. "[W]e are an organisation proud to work with the LGBTQ+ community and we pride ourselves for being an inclusive employer."

Ngole was allegedly told that he could be considered for the job if he could demonstrate how he would "embrace and promote homosexual rights."

This isn't the first time Ngole has faced what he is calling religious "discrimination" and "harassment." In 2019, the devout Christian was successful in a landmark free speech case after he was kicked out of a social work program at the University of Sheffield for citing biblical beliefs about homosexuality on his Facebook page. 

Christian Legal Centre claims that Hart reportedly found online articles about Ngole's previous legal case. The withdrawal of the job offer came shortly thereafter.

"In particular, we can see that you have very strong views against homosexuality and same sex marriage, which completely go against the views of Touchstone, an organisation committed to actively promoting and supporting LGBTQ+ rights," Hart reportedly wrote in an email sent to Ngole.

"In particular, we have serious concerns that your [Mr. Ngole's] ability to act in the best interests of Touchstone, its service users and its staff would be compromised by your strong views," the email continued. 

Ngole vowed in a reply email that he "would not discriminate against anyone" while insisting that he would not change his Christian beliefs for employment.

"What I cannot do, and you cannot reasonably expect me to do, without yourselves being discriminatory, is make my participation in the 'promotion of homosexual rights' a condition of my employment," Ngole responded. 

Following the correspondence, Ngole was invited to a meeting with employers, which Christian Concern characterized as a "two-hour interrogation." 

Throughout the meeting, he was questioned extensively about his faith. And by the end of the meeting, he said, a decision was made to withdraw the original offer he received for the job. 

The minutes from the meeting included details about how Ngole claimed that he had "never been accused of discrimination" and did not "have any intention to discriminate against anyone." However, the panel concluded that his analysis "rather misses the point." 

Ngole wants Touchstone to amend its recruitment procedures to better align with its stated objective of being an "inclusive employer'" to prevent Christians from being excluded from its workforce.

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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