Thursday, July 17, 2008

Last week an industrial tribunal found that Islington Council was wrong to require Lillian Ladele, a Christian registrar, to carry out civil partnership registrations. The Daily Mail hailed the ruling as a victory for common sense in our courtrooms. However Suzanne Moore, writing in the same paper was somewhat less impressed with the ruling.

Ladele seems to regard gay partnerships as more objectionable than fornication. But even in cases where religious beliefs are entirely sincere, is it reasonable to excuse employees their duties? What if a Muslim checkout worker at Tesco's insisted on calling in a colleague every time a customer's shopping trolley included a bottle of wine or a packet of pork chops? The disruption and time wasting would cause problems for everyone, not to mention unease caused to customers.

The employment tribunal decision was foolish, and not at all a victory for common sense, as I'm sure The Mail would be the first to say in a case of a similar victory for my hypothetical Tesco employee.

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