Nurse sacked over religious fervour loses unfair dismissal claim

Published: 9 May 2017

Category: Legal News

A nurse who was sacked because she preached Christianity to her patients has lost her unfair dismissal claim.

Sister Sarah Kuteh was the subject of several complaints from patients who said she had preached to them about religion.

A cancer patient said Ms Kuteh had told him that prayer would give him a better chance of surviving surgery. Another patient said she had held his hand tightly, recited a prayer and then asked him to sing a psalm with her. He said he felt subjected to religious fervour and likened the experience to a Monty Python sketch.

Her employer, the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, warned her about imposing her views on patients. A disciplinary hearing decided that Mrs Kuteh had failed to follow management instructions and had breached the Nursing and Midwifery Code. She was dismissed for gross misconduct in August 2016.

She claimed unfair dismissal but the Employment Tribunal ruled against her. It held that her claim was not well founded, and the Trust’s actions had been fair and "entirely appropriate”. There was no evidence to suggest that her human rights had been breached.

Afterwards, a spokesman for the Trust said: "This case was never about religion. It related to professional nursing responsibilities, behaviour and conduct in a public-facing role and position of trust."

Please contact Matthew Sigsworth in our Dispute Resolution Team if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.