School receptionist prayer case settled

A school receptionist who was suing her employers for religious discrimination following a dispute over a prayer email has secured an undisclosed payment and settled out of court.

Listen to a report from Premier Christian radio

Jennie Cain’s case was backed by The Christian Institute and they are pleased that the dispute has been resolved.

News of the settlement comes in a joint press release issued today by Devon County Council and The Christian Institute.

Read the joint press release in full

The dispute began in January last year when Mrs Cain’s daughter Jasmine, then aged five, was reprimanded by her class teacher for talking about her Christian faith to another child.

On hearing that her daughter had been reprimanded for expressing her faith, Mrs Cain sent a private email to church friends and family asking them to pray about the incident.

The email was sent from Mrs Cain’s home computer, outside work time, using her personal email account.


But the email ended up in the hands of head teacher Gary Read who launched an investigation against Mrs Cain for professional misconduct.

She was told to stay away from her job for nearly four months before receiving a written warning over the affair.

In August it was reported that Mrs Cain was launching an Employment Tribunal claim for religious discrimination, harassment and victimisation – backed by The Christian Institute.


The claim was brought against the governing body of Landscore Primary School and the school’s head teacher, Gary Read. A claim was also brought against Devon County Council for aiding the discrimination.

Speaking in August, Sean Kehoe, senior partner of the law firm Advance Legal who represented Mrs Cain, said: “No one ever seemed able to answer the simple question of what exactly Jennie had done wrong.

“We say there is an undercurrent of anti-Christian sentiment which she has come up against. If she had been from another religious background, nothing would have happened.”


The settlement, announced today, was welcomed by Mrs Cain. She said: “I am pleased that this matter has been resolved.

“We all agree that Christians should be treated with the same sensitivity and respect that is shown to people of all faiths and none. My family and I look forward to getting on with our lives and putting this matter behind us”.

The Chair of the Governing Body, David Smith, said: “Mrs Cain has undertaken her role as the receptionist at the school very well. We are drawing a line under this matter.

“As a result the school and the Head Teacher will be able to concentrate all their attention on providing the best possible learning environment for the children in our community.

“Landscore Primary School was rated by OFSTED as good with outstanding features and we can now concentrate fully on making Landscore a truly outstanding school.”

Watch a BBC Spotlight news report, Feb 09

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