By Peter Wooding
Europe Bureau Chief for ASSIST News Service
COLCHESTER, ENGLAND (ANS) – A graphic designer is suing a hotel in Colchester, England after claiming he was turned down for a job there because he is a Christian.
According to an article in the Daily Mail newspaper, 24-year-old Jamie Haxby was invited for an interview with Prested Hall Hotel after applying for a job to design the venue’s advertising and promotional material.
But after discovering that he was a Christian, manager Celie Parker said that he could not be considered for the role because his beliefs would upset atheist employees.
Haxby is now taking his case for religious discrimination to the East London Employment Tribunal, and will be supported by the Christian Institute.
Spokesman Mike Judge said: “Jamie’s case is shocking, and shows that discrimination against Christians is getting more brazen.
“There’s no place for this anti-Christian intolerance at the hands of aggressive atheists. It’s high time the government took the issue more seriously.”
The Daily Mail went on to report Haxby said the interview was going well until Parker saw his portfolio which contained samples of work that he had done for his local church and a Christian charity.
She subsequently apologized for wasting Haxby’s time, and commented that both she and other employees were atheists who could not work with a committed Christian.
“Everything was going well, and I felt happy with how the interview was progressing. Parker made several comments about the high standard of my work and how talented I was,” he said.
“However, just over halfway through looking over my portfolio, Celie stopped me and said she did not think we needed to go any further. “My heart slightly sank as I could tell there was something she did not like. She then explained that she thought my work was brilliant, but that she and others on her team were atheists.
“She said that judging from my work I was clearly a committed Christian, and I understood from what she was saying that it would be very difficult for me to work there.
“I could hardly believe what I was hearing. I felt upset and angry.”
Haxby explained that his faith should not influence the hotel’s decision as to whether or not to offer him the post.
“She just said not to take it personally, but that it wouldn’t be sensible and that it wouldn’t work, or words to that effect,” he added.
“She also expressed regret over ever asking me to the interview and apologized for wasting my time. But I was feeling increasingly distressed and upset.
“I then said there was no way that this was right in equal opportunities Britain and that everyone should have an equal chance at getting a job.
The hotel has denied discriminating against Haxby on the basis of his religious beliefs, and has said that the job was given to another more experienced candidate.
“The current climate of intolerance towards Christianity has led to a number of Christian individuals being barred from different areas of public life and employment. The European Court of Human Rights recently ruled against three Christians, Lillian Ladele, Gary McFarlane and Shirley Chaplin, who were all penalized for expressing their beliefs in the workplace, said Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern.
“The law needs to be re-visited urgently to ensure that it provides a basis for the full and active involvement of Christians in community life, whilst upholding the freedom of Christians to practice their beliefs in the public sphere without facing detriment.”