A landmark case: recruiting only from your faith can be legitimate

A Christian charity was sued for refusing to employ a non-Christian. We proved that the faith ethos was so central to how the charity worked that they could not be required to recruit someone from another faith.

What happened?

Christian charity Leprosy Mission International had refused an application for a vacancy as finance administrator from a Muslim applicant, who then claimed discrimination on the grounds of religion.

How did we help?

In Muhammed v Leprosy Mission International (ET 2303459/09), Lucy McLynn successfully argued that recruiting only Christian staff was a legitimate occupational requirement in certain circumstances, as the ethos permeated every aspect of the workplace. For example, the working day, as well as every meeting, began with prayers every morning. Prayer also played a role in resolving disputes.

Lucy argued that if the charity had hired a non-Christian, it would have had an impact on how effectively the charity could maintain its ethos. 

The tribunal held that it was lawful for the charity to insist on Christianity as an occupational requirement, highlighting that the charity’s belief in the power of prayer to achieve its goals is central to its work and activities.

The judgement was groundbreaking, with wide-ranging implications for hiring practices in some religious-ethos organisations. 

Click here to view the judgment.