Christian nurse ‘persecuted’ by NHS for refusing to remove crucifix at work

A Christian nurse banned from working on hospital wards after she refused to remove her crucifix at work has said she felt “persecuted”.

Shirley Chaplin, 54, told an employment tribunal she felt Muslim members of staff were treated more favourably by the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust after she was told the cross necklace was not allowed at work, the Telegraph has reported.

She told the tribunal: “Muslims are treated preferably to Christians, who are treated less favourably,” claiming they were allowed to wear outward religious symbols, including headscarves, while at work.

“I feel upset and persecuted. My belief is genuine and I am here to bear witness to that,” she added.

She added: “[My managers] are persecuting my faith.”

The case follows that of Christian British Airways worker Nadia Eweida, who last month lost her appeal against a ruling that said the airline was not guilty of discrimination by stopping her wearing a religious cross at work.

A spokesman for Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust made its position clear at the beginning of the tribunal and it would be inappropriate to make a running commentary on some of the key issues before we have articulated our case at the hearing.”

The tribunal continues.

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