Unfair dismissal and religion again: Ferguson v Kintail Trustees

In Mr K Ferguson v Kintail Trustees Ltd & Anor [2021] ET 4103321/2020, the claimant was Director and Chief Executive of Kintail Trustees, a limited company that operates as the corporate trustee of the Robertson Trust, a charity. He was also an elder, the treasurer and a trustee of Stirling Free Church of Scotland [45].


Kintail Trustees had about forty employees during the latter stages of his employment [25-28]. The aim of the Robertson Trust was to improve the wellbeing of people and communities affected by poverty and trauma and to realise the potential of people and communities in Scotland [32]. Its published Guidelines on grant-making included reference to the types of activity that it did not fund, including ‘Projects and activities which incorporate the promotion of political or religious beliefs….’ [35]. Kintail Trustees provided direct financial support under its Funding Policy to a wide variety of religious organisations, including the Church, and to political organisations for activities such as food banks and mother and toddler groups that did not promote their religious beliefs or political opinions, [36].

Mr Ferguson described himself as an evangelical Christian with orthodox beliefs: for him (and for the Free Church), marriage and ‘rightful sexual relations’ were solely heterosexual [46 & 47]. The second respondent, Ms Shonaig Macpherson, was the Chair of Kintail Trustees [29]. She was aware of Mr Ferguson’s views on sexual morality but did not share them [48 & 49]. Continue reading