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LAW’s Donald MacKinnon interviewed on catholic midwives case

BY Hussain Kayani
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

The case concerns two midwives at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow who, following an internal change to procedure for patients undergoing terminations, were required to supervise the care of abortion patients on maternity wards.

Concepta Wood and Mary Doogan have since taken their employers to court, claiming that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde breached their right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Donald offered some excellent insight into the employment law perspective of the case, noting:

 “there is a general principle that employers are expected to accommodate staff’s religious beliefs in the workplace… Where cases get difficult, as in this case, is where religious belief impacts on the employee’s ability to do their job”.

Donald went on to discuss judicial treatment of this issue, particularly that of the European Court of Justice:

“Often (the courts) come down on the employer’s side with a view sometimes almost akin to ‘If your religious beliefs don’t allow you to carry out the work, perhaps it’s time for you to get another job’”.

Fans of Donald’s work can, if they are quick, view the programme on STV’s website.  Alternatively, Donald plans soon to bring out a compilation DVD of his greatest moments on the silver screen which he hopes to have available soon!


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