Updated to include information on Michalak v General Medical Council and others, in which the Supreme Court held that the employment tribunal had jurisdiction to hear a discrimination claim against the General Medical Council.
We discuss a number of recent cases that concern NHS employers but that could also apply more widely.
In Wasteney v East London NHS Foundation Trust  IRLR 388 EAT, the EAT held that disciplinary proceedings against an employee were taken because she had acted inappropriately by imposing her religious views on a junior employee. She had not suffered unlawful religious discrimination, nor had her human right to manifest her religious belief been breached.
The employment tribunal held that a manager's use of bad language that included the words "Jesus Christ" and "God" did not harass a Christian employee.
In Heafield v Times Newspaper Ltd EAT/1305/12, the EAT held that there was no harassment based on religion or belief when an employee took offence at a colleague's comment using an expletive when referring to the Pope. In the context in which the remark was made, it could not reasonably be viewed as sufficiently offensive to amount to harassment.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld a tribunal decision that the context of a remark is important when assessing whether or not it constituted harassment.
The context in which a potentially discriminatory remark is made can be pivotal in a harassment claim, as this unsuccessful religion or belief discrimination claim brought by a Times sub-editor shows.
In this tribunal decision, an employee who suffered workplace abuse successfully claimed sexual orientation and religion or belief harassment, despite being heterosexual and not declaring his religious beliefs.
Georgina Kyriacou and David Malamatenios are partners and Sandra Martins, Colin Makin and Krishna Santra are associates at Colman Coyle Solicitors. They round up the latest rulings.
Employees involved in interviewing should be wary of potential discrimination issues, as this case involving religion or belief discrimination shows.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to harassment related to religion or belief.