A Christian nurse says the NHS made her look like a “religious nutcase” after she prayed with a Muslim co-worker.
Victoria Wasteney, 37, was suspended for alleged bullying and harassment after the co-worker, Enya Nawaz, told administration that Wasteney had tried to convert her to Christianity.
The Daily Mail reports Wasteney will launch an employment tribunal this week against the NHS trust she works for, arguing that she was suspended based on her religion.
The East London NHS Foundation Trust said it could not comment on the case ahead of the tribunal.
Wasteney was working at the John Howard Centre in Homerton, East London. Nawaz joined the hospital in 2012. The two had conversations about Islam and Christianity prior to the suspension. Wasteney said Nawaz was the one to initiate those conversations.
Nawaz approached Wasteney crying over health problems. Wasteney then asked if she could pray for her. Nawaz said yes and then Wasteney prayed and gave her a book about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity.
Nawaz filed a formal complaint, and Wasteney was suspended for nine months during an investigation. She was given a written warning and moved to work in another area.
“I’m not anti-Muslim and I’m always very mindful to be sensitive to other people’s beliefs,” she said. “We discussed our beliefs but I certainly didn't tell her that my way was the only way. I don't even believe it's possible to force someone to convert.
“But the way it was all handled left me looking like a religious nutcase and I would like an acknowledgement that there is a negative attitude towards Christianity in some areas of the public sector.”
Publication date: January 19, 2015