ICC Note: Following a number of incidents involving workplace discrimination, Victoria Wasteney, a Christian NHS worker, was banned from talking about her faith upon a false complaint that she was bullying her Muslim coworker. Though Wasteney only spoke of her faith when encouraged by her colleague, she received a formal warning and a suspension that was later lifted. Wasteney has partnered with the Christian Legal Centre in order to fight this verdict and advocate for the equal treatment of Christians and Muslims alike.
By Carey Lodge
06/30/2014 United Kingdom (Christian Today) – A Christian NHS occupational therapist has been disciplined and banned from talking about her faith at work following a nine-month suspension for ‘bullying’ a Muslim colleague.
Head of Occupational Therapy at the East London NHS Trust, Victoria Wasteney has since been reinstated by the Trust, but is moving onto a different project.
Despite the disciplinary’s verdict, Wasteney maintains that she was always respectful to her co-worker and only ever spoke about her faith after receiving encouragement to do so.
“I fear I may have been entrapped by a colleague who encouraged me to discuss my faith, who willingly agreed that I could pray for her and who even accepted an invitation to a church charity event,” she says.
The co-worker in question was a junior in Wasteney’s department, and made a complaint to the Trust on grounds of religious discrimination and harassment.
Wasteney was then found guilty of giving her colleague a book detailing the story of a Muslim who converted to Christianity, placing a hand on her knee during prayer and inviting her to a church charity event. The Disciplinary Tribunal thus ordered Wasteney’s suspension, which has since been lifted, though a formal warning will remain on her record for 12 months.
Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Wasteney has fought this verdict, contending that she was “simply responding in a loving and compassionate way to a young colleague who seemed genuinely interested in talking about my faith as a Christian”.
“For nine months I was made to feel I was a danger to my colleagues and the public despite no evidence of wrong-doing. I had email evidence clearly showing the Complainant wanted to come to my charity church event and I only put my hand on her knee in friendship after asking her permission while I prayed for her,” she insists.