School Receptionist Prayer Case Settled

A school receptionist who was suing her employers for religious discrimination following a dispute over a prayer email has secured an undisclosed payment and settled out of court.

I had not checked on this despite writing a post about it a while ago.

This is good news. Is it great news? I am not sure. Because Jenny Cain settled out of court no principle in law has been set. And the school head teacher and governors have saved themselves – they have not been sacked.

In their joint press release dated Wednesday, 14 April 2010 it says:

The parties have agreed to disagree as to whether Mrs Cain has been discriminated against on the grounds of her religion by either staff at the school or the Local Authority.

All parties jointly acknowledge that all faiths, including Christianity, must be treated equally and with sensitivity. All parties also recognise the freedom of individuals to hold, talk and write about their beliefs.

The parties have agreed to disagree!? I think that is appalling. The school seem unable to admit they acted disgracefully.

The dispute began in January last year when Mrs Cain’s daughter Jasmine, then aged five, was reprimanded by her class teacher for talking about her Christian faith to another child. On hearing that her daughter had been reprimanded for expressing her faith, Mrs Cain sent a private email to church friends and family asking them to pray about the incident.

The email was sent from Mrs Cain’s home computer, outside work time, using her personal email account. This was no business of her employer.

For some reason the email ended up in the hands of head teacher Gary Read. Instead of realising that it was a case of a person of faith at the receiving end of Christophobic behaviour who needed supporting, he launched an investigation against Mrs Cain for professional misconduct. Yes, against Mrs Cain! She was then told to stay away from her job for nearly four months before receiving a written warning over the affair.

In August it was reported that Mrs Cain was launching an Employment Tribunal claim for religious discrimination, harassment and victimisation – backed by The Christian Institute.

The claim was brought against the governing body of Landscore Primary School and the school’s head teacher, Gary Read. A claim was also brought against Devon County Council for aiding the discrimination.

Speaking in August, Sean Kehoe, senior partner of the law firm Advance Legal who represented Mrs Cain, said: “No one ever seemed able to answer the simple question of what exactly Jennie had done wrong.

“We say there is an undercurrent of anti-Christian sentiment which she has come up against. If she had been from another religious background, nothing would have happened.”

The Chair of the Governing Body, David Smith, said: “Mrs Cain has undertaken her role as the receptionist at the school very well. We are drawing a line under this matter.

“As a result the school and the Head Teacher will be able to concentrate all their attention on providing the best possible learning environment for the children in our community.

I do not understand how the Head Teacher has kept his job. If he had been homophobic instead of Christophobic I think he would have been sacked. I think it would have been him and the chair of governors suspended pending an investigation. They should both thank God for the mercy Jenny Cain has shown them.

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