Employment, freedom of speech and Evangelical views on sexuality: Walters

Another one we missed…


In Rev Keith Walters v The Active Learning Trust Ltd & Anor [2022] UKET 3324619/2019 the claimant, the minister of an independent Evangelical congregation, supported himself by working as full-time caretaker at the Isle of Ely Primary School [34]. When the dispute arose, the parties agreed that Mr Walters believed that his role as a minister took precedence over his employment and that there might be times when he would need to be released from school to fulfil his ministerial duties such as funerals [37]. The Trust, however, disputed his contention that it had been agreed that, so long as he was present at the start and end of the day, there was no issue with how he spent his time and, further, that he reserved his right to be “unequivocal in publicly stating the Christian doctrine on various issues, some of which may be unpopular” [38]. The ET accepted that there was an agreement to be flexible but did not accept that Mr Walters was either free to do what he wanted during work time or had carte blanche to make public statements against the school’s policies [39]. Further, he had agreed to the Trust’s policies and procedures, including the staff Code of Conduct [40 & 41].

On 1 June 2019, he tweeted:

“A reminder that Christians should not support or attend the LGBTQ ‘pride month’ events in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children” [51].

His tweet attracted lots of press and social media attention [52] and he was sent hate mail [54]. Continue reading