A Christian woman in the United Kingdom will attempt to appeal a ruling made by an employment tribunal that she "bullied" a Muslim colleague, arguing that her human rights were violated in the process.
According to a report in the Telegraph, senior occupational health therapist Victoria Wasteney, 37, claimed that she was branded a "religious nutcase" after being accused of trying to convert 25-year-old Enya Nawaz, a Muslim of Pakistani descent, to Christianity. She was disciplined by an employment tribunal for her actions.
"The tribunal found it was inappropriate for her to engage in prayers or give her colleague a book given her senior position," Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said. "She is just an open, friendly, kind person and had a normal relationship with a colleague and there was nothing untoward."
According to Chris Riches of the Daily Express, Wasteney was handed a written warning by her employers last year. She was suspended from her job after Nawaz complained "that she had offered to pray for her, invited her to her Christian Revival Church and given her a book about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity."
"A disciplinary hearing last year upheld the three complaints against Miss Wasteney," Riches wrote. "She challenged the decision at a tribunal in January, saying she wanted to raise awareness about difficulties faced by religious people in the workplace, but the ruling was upheld."
Wasteney told Riches that she was not "a hard-line evangelical" Christian or "anti-Muslim."
"I feel that my freedom is under attack," Wasteney said. "How is it that I cannot talk about the person I am?"
According to the Telegraph, lawyers for Wasteney have filed an appeal that cited article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of conscience and religion.
"We are going to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and will be arguing that the ECHR enshrines the freedom to be able to speak about faith in the workplace and not be disciplined for it and have conversations with others," Williams said. "We lodged the papers on Thursday."
Williams also added that "the NHS is increasingly dominated by a suffocating liberal agenda that chooses to bend over backwards to accommodate certain beliefs but punishes the Christian."
According to the Telegraph, Wasteney was suspended on the grounds of "gross misconduct." A hearing determined back in February 2014 that the "firewall" between her personal beliefs and her work had broken down.
"The allegations included Miss Wasteney requesting Miss Nawaz pray with her, setting up healing sessions at Miss Nawaz's house and telling she would not be healed unless she was converted," the Telegraph wrote.
According to Riches, Wasteney still works for the East London NHS Foundation Trust, but not in her specialist field. Nawaz has since left the hospital.