Christian teaching assistant sacked for raising trans concerns wins appeal

Originally published in Premier Christian News

Christian teaching assistant Kristie Higgs, who was sacked after sharing two Facebook posts that raised concerns about how transgenderism and compulsory sex education was to be taught at her son’s Church of England (CofE) primary school, has won her appeal.

A previous ruling in October 2020 at Bristol Employment Tribunal had upheld her sacking.  However, in this latest judgement, the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, Dame Jennifer Eady, allowed Mrs Higgs’s appeal, saying: “The freedom to manifest belief (religious or otherwise) and to express views relating to that belief are essential rights in any democracy, whether or not the belief in question is popular or mainstream and even if its expression may offend.”

The ruling sets a legal precedent which confirms that the Equality Act 2010 protects employees from discrimination not only for their beliefs, but also for expression or manifestation of their beliefs.  It confirms that any limitation of freedom to manifest religion at the workplace must be prescribed by law, and go no further than is necessary in a democratic society for the protection of rights, freedoms and reputation of others.

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The Christian Legal Centre, which has been supporting Higgs, says this precedent is expected to protect Christians who are disciplined or dismissed by their employers for manifesting their faith by sharing their beliefs in conversations or on social media, as well as by praying and wearing crosses, for example.

Higgs was sacked from the school in Gloucestershire after encouraging people in a Facebook post to sign a petition challenging the government’s plans to introduce Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) to children in primary schools.

A second post linked to an article on the rise of transgender ideology in children’s books in American schools, and she added her own comment: “This is happening in our primary schools now.”

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Responding to yesterday’s ruling, Mrs Higgs said: “From the beginning, despite the many attempts by the school to suggest otherwise, this has always been about my Christian beliefs and me being discriminated against for expressing them in my own time.

“I will never forget the moment, shaking and tearful, that I was ordered to leave the school premises after my Christian beliefs were aligned with Nazism.

“Since I lost the job I loved, there has been so many disturbing revelations about transgender ideology in schools and children being taught inappropriate sex education.  I feel so justified and vindicated for sharing and expressing the concerns that I did.

“Christian parents must have the freedom to bring their children up in line with their Christian beliefs.  I want young children to be protected from transgender ideology, and Christians must also to be able to share their opinions and beliefs without fear of losing their jobs.”

Earlier this year, the government announced that it will undertake an urgent review of ‘inappropriate’ sex education in UK schools.

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