Drew v Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust UKEAT/0378/12/SM
Dr Drew was employed by the Trust as a consultant paediatrician from January 1983 until his dismissal in March 2011. He had been praised for his clinical skills and had provided many years of dedicated service to the children of Walsall. He was clinical director of the paediatric department from 2001 to 2008. Drew is a practising Christian; and the Tribunal found that his faith is very important to him. The paediatric department of the Trust was a multicultural and multi-faith department. Several instances occurred when Drew’s communications with his colleagues would be heavily influenced by his faith and would include religious references. This included circulating a prayer which he described as a personal inspiration and including religious references in his professional communication. After an internal review which recommended that Drew keep his personal views to himself, he raised a grievance which lead to further investigations and recommendations which Drew disagreed with. Eventually, one investigation recommended disciplinary proceedings. These subsequently resulted in Drew’s dismissal. He claimed at tribunal that he had been treated less favourably on the grounds of his religion. The tribunal decided that he had not been. The Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed with the original tribunal. They decided that the comparator put forward by Drew was not the correct person to compare himself against. The tribunal had identified correctly a hypothetical comparator as someone whose relevant circumstances were the same as those of Drew apart from his protected characteristic, described by the Drew as that of being an “orthodox Christian”, and who acted as Drew had done but used terms relating to his own religious belief system or non-religious or atheist belief system and were entitled to conclude that such a comparator would have been treated in the same way. Drew therefore lost his claim.