Christian telesales employee tells tribunal he objected to ‘lying’ to make sales

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A Christian telesales worker has told an employment tribunal that being required to lie to potential customers to make sales was against his beliefs.

The tribunal heard how the claimant, who was employed at a telecommunications company, objected to being required to deceive potential customers in order to obtain sales. He told the tribunal that such a process was against his religious beliefs and he was therefore protected by the Equality Act 2010. However, the tribunal rejected his claim.

The claimant said he was told during his training to “be creative” when talking to “gatekeepers” such as secretaries and PAs, and he noted that during the training he felt that “at the end of the first day he thought he would end up in an employment tribunal”. He also made a note that the trainer had advised him “to lie”.

He additionally claimed that he had heard his colleagues lying to customers.

He claimed religion or belief discrimination on the basis that he was working in a hostile environment and said he was dismissed for refusing to lie to customers, but the employer argued it had not required the claimant to lie to meet targets.

However, he lost his case because he failed to produce sufficient evidence that the company had required him to lie to potential customers as part of his role.

The tribunal also found the claimant had signed the company’s code of conduct, which prohibits employees from misleading customers and reflected the fact the company was subject to the telecoms industry’s regulatory rules. The tribunal rejected his claim that his signature had been forged.

The employment tribunal pointed out that the claimant’s belief that he should not be required to lie is not unique to Christianity and is a central article of faith in most, if not all, major religions and does not, in itself, amount to a religion. The belief is at most a manifestation of a religious belief.

It was also stressed that the claimant had presented no evidence that lying was a requirement in this workplace and that it believed the employer’s version of events that the claimant had been dismissed for failing to meet targets, not because of his refusal to lie to customers.

For full detail of the tribunal’s decision, visit XpertHR.

Philosophical beliefs and equality legislation

XpertHR has coverage of cases where beliefs have been found to be “philosophical beliefs” under equality legislation:

XpertHR also has details of cases where beliefs have been found not to be “philosophical beliefs” under equality legislation:

  • alistair mcquade

    I forget the percentages, but there are some people who are engaged in their work, some compliant and some out to sabotage their work. This seems to me to be a case of the latter. Which is a shame because ethics in selling is a topic that deserves more airtime, especially as ethical and empathic sales approaches can yield big dividends for companies.