A tribunal will hear an appeal from Islington Council in the case of Lillian Ladele, a Christian registrar who was bullied and threatened with the sack over her beliefs about marriage.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal will consider the matter on Wednesday, 10 December. Miss Ladele’s legal costs are being financed by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund.
In July three employment judges unanimously ruled that Miss Ladele had suffered harassment and religious discrimination at the hands of her employer, Islington Council.
The Council denies any wrongdoing and is appealing on all grounds.
The situation arose after civil partnerships became law and council bosses attempted to force Miss Ladele to register same-sex unions against her will.
The Civil Partnership Act requires local councils to provide registrations for same-sex couples but does not require all registrars to do so.
Miss Ladele – an Islington employee for many years – had explained her religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, and asked for her beliefs to be accommodated.
She offered to swap shifts with other registrars who had no religious objection to facilitating same-sex unions – an arrangement which several other councils have found acceptable.
But Islington refused to allow that arrangement and proceeded to discipline Miss Ladele, labelling her as ‘homophobic’ and threatening her with dismissal.
July’s ruling found that Islington Council had “disregarded and displayed no respect for Ms Ladele’s genuinely held religious belief” and it had created an “intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for her on grounds of her religion on belief”.
It also found various acts of direct discrimination committed against Miss Ladele by Islington Council on the grounds of her religious belief.
•failing to consider her for promotion;
•deciding to discipline her and threatening her with dismissal;
•concluding she had committed gross misconduct;
•failing to redress allegations that she was “homophobic” and labelling and treating her as homophobic;
•disregarding her concerns about her treatment;
•failing to apply its anti-discrimination policies to gay colleagues who were mistreating her.
While the matter was ongoing Miss Ladele was not involved in civil partnership work. During that time, no same-sex couple was denied a civil partnership registration at Islington Council which, in its own words, continued to deliver a “first class service”.