Chaplain compensated after his expulsion from a hospital —UK


Father Patrick Pullicino Filed Lawsuit Against United Kingdom's National Health Service For Religious Discrimination; Reaches £10K Settlement

Father Patrick Pullicino was allegedly fired from his position as a chaplain in the United Kingdom's National Health Service due to religious discrimination. As a result, he took legal action against his former employer and currently receives money for settlement.

Lawsuit of Father Patrick Pullicino

A report from the Catholic News Agency stated that the conflict started in September of 2019 when Father Patrick Pullicino had a chat with a patient for twenty minutes in which the patient made it clear that they wanted to speak with a Catholic priest. The patient, who was being treated in a hospital for mental health, is said to have disclosed to Pullicino that he was involved in a relationship with someone of the same sexual orientation and intended to marry his partner. When the patient asked the priest for his opinion, the priest asked, "What do you think God would say to you about this?" The conversation went on as the priest gave his advice to the patient. 

However, the next day, the priest was reportedly prohibited from entering the hospital due to the patient's complaint against him. Following his discussion with the chief chaplain, he was issued an email that contained the following statement: "NHS policy on Equality and Diversity in relation to the complaint supersedes religious standing whilst working and representing the trust." After that, the NHS began an official investigation into the allegation that had been made.

When Pullicino attempted to return to work for the NHS, the organization emailed him that his letter did not show any evidence of his acceptance or contemplation that his words conflicted with all of the behaviors and values upheld by the Trust. "Only when I have assurance that such incidents will not reoccur can we look at you visiting wards again," the email said.

Moreover, Catholic Masses reported that Father Pullicino, a medical doctor, filed a lawsuit against the London NHS Trust, alleging that the organization victimized him, harassed and discriminated due to his religious beliefs. The settlement of £10,000 awarded to the priest, who is 73 years old, is equivalent to around $12,414.

Father Pullicino said that Christian faith is of the utmost significance when someone is ill, especially when one's life is at risk. In addition to being unlawful, restricting this is inhumane. The provision of reliable, religion-specific chaplaincy care in the NHS, necessary in all hospitals, is currently under threat. An investigation by the government into the proper functioning of hospital chaplaincies is an urgently required next step.

Law Against Limiting Christian Faith in Workplace

According to DOL, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) makes it illegal for federal agencies to discriminate against current employees or candidates based on their religious beliefs regarding hiring, firing, or any other terms or conditions of work. This includes terms and circumstances such as pay and benefits. In addition, Title VII mandates that federal agencies make reasonable accommodations for their employees' and applicants' religious practices and beliefs unless doing so would burden the organization excessively.