In a major victory for Christianity in the United Kingdom, a Catholic nurse has won a religious discrimination case against the NHS – showing that religious freedom is still alive in the United Kingdom.

Mary Onuoha, who loyally worked for the NHS for 18 years, was sacked amidst her refusal to remove her Christian crucifix necklace. Onuoha is a devout Catholic, and like many Christians, was proud to wear her cross. But her bosses at Cryodyon University Hospital had other ideas, and ordered her to remove the cross on “hygiene” grounds.

Sickeningly, Onuoha was dismissed after refusing to do so. However, Onuoha stuck to her beliefs, and sought a wrongful dismissal case. In a deserved but badly needed result, Onuoha won her case.

Jesus is Lord

Mary Onuoha was discriminated against

Mary Onuoha worked as a Theatre Practitioner at the Croydon University Hospital in Surrey, England. She had worked at the hospital for a remarkable 18 years, being incredibly loyal throughout.

But despite her years of service, Onuoha was targeted for her decision to wear a small cross on a necklace. She was first asked to remove her necklace in 2014.

The hospital tried to justify this by pointing to the NHS’s policy of necklace-wearing being deemed as a health and safety risk. Rightfully, Onuoha refused.

As part of the employment tribunal, it was heard that Onuoha’s Head of Department said that he would need to call security if Onuoha wore the necklace in a clinical area.

The hospital remained intent on bullying Onuoha into submission. After further requests were refused, the hospital demoted Onuoha to the role of receptionist.

Employment Tribunal

She left the role in 2020. Instead of admitting defeat, Onuoha battled hard. She filed charges against the hospital, complaining that she was unfairly dismissed. This included the hospital violating her free expression of religion.

This is of course part of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The employment tribunal conducted an investigation, and found that many employees wore necklaces that were in no way religious, yet were able to wear them without any issue.

The tribunal found that the necklaces and other jewelry of staff was “widely tolerated” by management. Moreover, other religious wear, such as headscarves and turbans were worn by hospital staff without problem. But for some inexplicable reason, the management decided to just take issue with Christian religious wear.

Also, Onuoha had to wear lanyards and ID passes around her neck, meaning the cross was a tiny part of her overall wear.

The Ruling

The employment tribunal ruled in favour of Onuoha. They pointed to how other forms of jewelry and religious wear were acceptable.

The ruling said: “there was no proper explanation as to why those items were permitted but a cross-necklace was not.” They suggested that any infection emanating from Onuoha’s cross was “very low”, and that “common sense” dictated this.

Mary Onuoha’s Reaction

The video below shows Onuoha’s reaction, courtesy of The Daily Mail.