Religious discrimination in employment: Wiccan unfairly dismissed

The Daily Mail reports that Ms Karen Holland, a Wiccan who claimed that she was sacked by the proprietors of the grocery store where she had worked for over two years because she had attended a Halloween ceremony, has been awarded £15,337.12 in compensation after a successful claim for unfair dismissal, sex discrimination and religious discrimination. Her employers had insisted that they had fired her after they caught her stealing a magazine and a lottery ticket.

According to the report, Watford Employment Tribunal concluded that her dismissal had breached “the basics of natural justice” and that her employers’ reaction when she explained that she was a Wiccan “… crossed the line from polite if uninformed and possible crass enquiry to insulting mockery”. Her employers announced that they would appeal.

There is a helpful general treatment of the position of Paganism in English law on the Religious Studies blog.

2 thoughts on “Religious discrimination in employment: Wiccan unfairly dismissed

  1. Thanks, this is a really interesting case. I have never heard of this woman, and I have been practising Wicca for 22 years. Also, it is rather odd that the Daily Mail, which is usually dismissive and rude about Pagans, is suddenly supportive – could it be anything to do with the fact that the employers in this case were Sikhs?

    The article you linked to, “Paganism in English Law” is also very interesting (but does not accept comments).

    As that article correctly notes, the Council of British Druid Orders has absolutely nothing to do with Wicca, and does not even represent the whole of Druidry, let alone the whole of Paganism.

    The body that probably represents the largest number of Pagans is the Pagan Federation. And the body that represents the largest number of Druids would probably be OBOD (the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids). Wicca doesn’t have a representative body, as we are happy to be represented by the Pagan Federation.

    • Thanks for that. I can’t comment on what was said in the Daily Mail: it’s always slightly fraught to write a post merely on the basis of media reports and I tried to make it as factual as possible. I’ve ordered a copy of the ET judgment from the Tribunals Service at Bury St Edmunds: when and if it turns up I aim to write a considered post once I’ve had a chance to digest what the ET actually said.

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