British Man Demoted by Employer for Religious Opinions on Facebook
Posted by faithandthelaw on October 25, 2011
The BBC reports that Adrian Smith, a housing worker in Manchester, England, is taking legal action against his employer, Trafford Housing Trust (THT), after he was demoted and had his pay cut by 40%.
The reason for the demotion was because Smith made comments on his Facebook page saying that marriage is for a man and woman. He also listed his employer on Facebook as many people do. Apparently the THT does not agree with his religious views and claims that he had been disciplined for breaching its code of conduct.
Smith is being supported in his legal action by The Christian Institute, a national charity that defends the religious liberty of Christians. He is claiming interference with his rights to free speech and religious liberty and breach of contract, the institute said.
Smith, a father of two, was commenting on a news article concerning gay marriage in churches when he wrote, “The Bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women. If the state wants to offer civil marriages to the same sex then that is up to the state; but the state shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith and conscience”.
A THT spokeswoman said: “At the end of 2010, we updated our Code of Conduct for Employees … some three months after this new code was issued, Mr. Smith, without our authority or knowledge and on a Facebook page that identified him as a manager at Trafford Housing Trust, made comments that were found … to be in breach of the company’s code of conduct and other policies.”
Smith’s solicitor, Tom Ellis of Aughton Ainsworth law firm, said: “It is an extreme and massive overreaction by the trust that a man can lose his job over what I imagine most people would find are not extreme views. They weren’t intended to be offensive and are an opinion over which he has suffered a huge pay cut.”