Nurse sues UK hospital over claims she was bullied out of her job and treated like a criminal for wearing cross around her neck

Black Nurse sues UK hospital over claims she was bullied out of her job and treated like a criminal for wearing cross around her neck

A Nigerian christain nurse will today tell an employment tribunal that she was bullied out of her job for wearing a cross around her neck at work.

NHS theatre practitioner, Mary Onuoha alleged that series of campaign by bosses at Croydon University Hospital forced 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.

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

However, she said 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 said.

According to Mrs Onuoha, she was forced off work with stress in June 2020 and believed she faced no alternative but to resign later that year.

The Nigerian nurse alongside the Christian Legal Centre will now challenge Croydon Health Services NHS Trust on the grounds of harassment, victimisation, direct and indirect discrimination, and constructive and unfair dismissal.

Mrs 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 Mrs Onuoha's evidence commencing today.

Mrs Onuoha will state that she was 'treated like a criminal' by her employer and her case will bring into question the freedom of Christians to manifest their faith in the workplace, especially in comparison to members of other faiths.

Mrs Onuoha came to the UK in 1988 and had worked at Croydon University Hospital for 18 years.Each day she wore the cross around her neck without any complaints or health and safety concerns from colleagues or patients but she claims from 2015, she was asked to either remove her cross or conceal it, which she refused.Latest Post