Wrongful Dismissal: Christian Counsellor Loses Gay Therapy Appeal

Wrongful Dismissal: Christian Counsellor Loses Gay Therapy Appeal

An evangelical Christian relationship counsellor who refused to offer therapy
to gay couples has lost his unfair dismissal appeal.

Gary McFarlane, 47, from Bristol, worked for the publicly-funded national
counselling service and was sacked last year after he said he could
not do anything to promote gay sex and “encourage sin.”

After being fired, Mr. McFarlane lodged a claim for , , and  against  for failing to accommodate his faith
or allow him to try to overcome his reservations.

 admitted  for failing to provide a
proper notice period.  But the employment tribunal rejected Mr. McFarlane’s
claims of  and .  Mr. McFarlane then appealed
to an Employment Appeals Tribunal.

Responding to the decision,  chief executive Claire Tyler said:

“The appeal judgement validates ‘s commitment to equality of access to our services.

‘s trusted service, both in Avon and across the country,
relies on making sure that all members of society, regardless of their , , , , , are able to
access respectful and professional counselling and sex therapy.

 is committed to supporting all religious beliefs
working within .

“However, our primary consideration is to our clients who often need complex
advice and assistance.

“We cannot allow anything to damage our clients, or to undermine the
principle of trust that underpins our work.”

What is wrongful dismissal?

 arises when an employer breaches a
term of a , which results in dismissal or
forces an employee to leave. 

Certain terms are automatically imposed into our employment contracts by
operation of law.  For example, the duty to to comply with statutory
disciplinary or grievance procedures.  Where an employer breaches these terms,
it may be liable for .

An employer may only dismiss an employee without notice – summary
– if the employee commits a serious breach of the
contract, for example assaulting a colleague.

It is worth noting that dismissal can be both and :  for wrongful dismissal, however, there is no
service qualification period for making a claim (unlike ).  Note also, that any money received
for will usually be cancelled out by the
amount received for , and vice versa, to stop the
employee receiving double compensation.

Additional Information & Advice

You can obtain further information about , and  on .

Depending on the circumstances of your case, however, it may be better to
speak with a .  You can be , which can also help you to understand the best course of
action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.