A Christian nurse was fired from her job because she offered to pray for patients who were scheduled for surgery.
Sister Sarah Kuteh was fired from Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent in August after some patients reportedly complained she made them uncomfortable with “unwanted discussions” about faith.
However, Kuteh said part of her job in assessing patients before they go through surgery was letting them answer a questionnaire which included a question about religion, The Telegraph reported.
Although she admitted to talking to patients about faith when she was new to the role, she said she had been more careful since April after a warning was issued against her. And in cases when she did talk about her faith as a Christian, it was the patient who opened up about it first and not her, she said.
Kuteh also said conversations about religion would sometimes arise when the patient forgot to answer the question about religion. She claimed she never imposed her beliefs on anyone.
However, in June the hospital said there were three more complaints about her. A patient reportedly complained that Kuteh gave her a Bible she did not ask for, while another one said Kuteh was “preaching” to her.
Kuteh said she never saw the complaints herself. All she was shown were small pieces of paper where her co-workers scribbled patients’ complaints about her alleged behavior.
With all these complaints coming out, the hospital suspended her and then had her escorted out of the premises.
“It was embarrassing for me – and painful after all I had done in my years as a nurse,” she said, according to the Daily Mail. “I was walked out of that hospital after all I had done over all my years as a nurse and I was told I couldn’t even speak to any of my colleagues.”
After conducting an investigation on her case, she was fired from Darent Valley Hospital in August.
Kuteh, who has 15 years of experience as a nurse, said the hospital’s response toward her was “disproportionate and punitive.”
“All I had done was to nurse from the very bottom of my heart. How could it ever be harmful to tell someone about Jesus?” she said.
The mother of three filed a lawsuit against the hospital through Christian Legal Centre.
“Sarah is an experienced, hard-working senior nurse facing a grossly disproportionate punishment for no more than expressing her Christian faith in the workplace. But for the question on the pre-op assessment form, these conversations would not have taken place,” Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said.
“This is the latest in the growing list of cases where an expression of Christian beliefs at workplace punishes disproportionately those who live and speak out their faith in public life,” she continued.
Darent Valley Hospital has stood by its decision to fire Kuteh.
“We have a duty to our patients that when they are at their most vulnerable they are not exposed to unsolicited beliefs and/ or views, religious or otherwise. We feel we have acted appropriately in this case,” the hospital said in a statement.
In late November, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Christians should not be afraid to talk about their faith in their workplace. The statement came after Ms. May was criticized for commenting that God is her source of guidance when she makes difficult decisions.
Prior to that, the Equality and Human Rights Commission criticized organizations that seek to be politically correct and in effect hinder other people’s freedom of expression. David Isaac, the commission’s chairman, said some employers are no longer celebrating Christmas in the workplace for fear of offending certain groups of people.