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Nigerian UK based nurse drags employer to court over discrimination, bullying

A Nigerian United Kingdom based Christian nurse, Mary Onuoha has accused her bosses at Croydon University Hospital of bullying and harassment for wearing a cross around her neck at work.

Onuoha, who has dragged her employer to an employment tribunal over the matter said she was bullied out of her job because of religion, dailymail reports.

NHS theatre practitioner Onuoha said she faced a campaign by bosses at Croydon University Hospital to make her remove the gold symbol.

She had been a staff member for 18 years and had worn the piece of jewellery for 40 years to mark her deep Christian faith.

But from 2015, she claims a succession of managers told her to remove the item from around her neck or the matter would face ‘escalation.’

She claims patient safety was risked in an operating theatre to discipline her and her head of department even said he would have to call security if she wore it in a clinical area.

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Onuoha was told her small gold cross was a health and safety risk and ‘must not be visible’.

However, she says other clinical staff members at Croydon University Hospital in South London were permitted to wear jewellery, saris, turbans, and hijabs and only the cross was subject to specific sanction.

For her continued refusals, the devout Christian was investigated, suspended from clinical duties and demoted to working as a receptionist, which she found deeply humiliating, she claims.

She says she was forced off work with stress in June 2020 and believed she faced no alternative but to resign later that year.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Onuoha will now challenge Croydon Health Services NHS Trust on the grounds of harassment, victimisation, direct and indirect discrimination, and constructive and unfair dismissal.

Onuoha’s lawyers will argue that the Trust has breached her freedom to manifest her faith under Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights and the Equality Act.

The hearing is being held at Croydon Employment Tribunal with Onuoha’s evidence commencing today.

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