Former employees lodge complaint against U.K. charity

Employees say charity won't promote non-Christian staff

Two former employees of U.K. Christian charity Prospects are alleging religious discrimination.

A tribunal examining the claims and the charity's employment policies has heard Prospects, which provides Christian support for people with learning disabilities, changed its recruitment policy to hire only practicing Christians and that existing non-Christian staff were told they would not be eligible for promotion.

Mark Sheridan, who left his job as a manager of Prospects after the charity changed its recruitment policy and told non-Christian staff they were no longer eligible for promotion, is claiming discrimination and constructive dismissal.

A second employee, Louise Hender, says she was denied promotion on the grounds of her non-religious beliefs.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has said exemptions in equality legislation only allow for discrimination for very specific positions.

"Clearly a cardinal needs to be a Catholic. But we do not believe that the law was intended to allow religious or indeed humanist organizations to discriminate wholesale in the employment policies and practices," Hanne Stitson, chief executive officer of the BHA, told the BBC.

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