Victoria Wasteney, NHS worker taken to disciplinary over giving a Muslim colleague a Bible
A NHS employee has denied allegations she bullied her fellow Muslim colleague on her religious beliefs in June last year.
In February this year, an internal disciplinary found head of occupational therapy at the East London NHS, Victoria Wasteney, guilty of three charges of misconduct.
The occupational therapist was questioned about an incident where she gave her Muslim colleague a book about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity.
She was found guilty of harassment when she had prayed with her and when she invited the woman to her church.
The complaints led to Wasteney being suspended on full pay for nine months. She had to accept a final written warning at work which will remain on her records for 12 months, and disciplinary actions were taken to prevent Wasteney from discussing faith at work.
Wasteney did not accept the repercussions and is taking legal actions against the NHS. She believed that the NHS was demonstrating a pro-Muslim bias due to political correctness. She emphasised that she made friends with the Muslim and had innocent conversations with her about faith. She stated that she took caution when discussing her Christian faith with her to ensure that she did not appear to be preaching.
Wasteney, from Essex, accused the company of stifling ordinary conversations about religious beliefs.
She was asked about her motives behind giving the woman the book. “It certainly wasn’t an attempt to convert her to Christianity, a friend had recommended it to me…I hadn’t read it. I still haven’t,” she said.
When the woman went on sick leave, Wasteney recommended a book about a Muslim converting that they had discussed at work.
Regarding the incident where they prayed together, the 37-year old claimed that her Muslim colleague came into her office in tears over health problems; Wasteney says she told her to draw on her faith, before they prayed together. “I said to her that she had strong faith and she should draw on that faith,” said Wasteney. “I said ‘Pray!’ She told me she could not pray, so I replied ‘Maybe I can pray for you?’ And she said ‘OK’.
Wasteney claims she invited the colleague to a number of church events after she showed an interest in the work they do against human trafficking.
Representing Wasteney Christian Legal Centre, Chief Executive Andrea Williams said the case demonstrated that “the NHS is increasingly dominated by a suffocating liberal agenda that chooses to bend over backwards to accommodate certain beliefs but punishes the Christian”.
A spokesman for East London NHS Foundation Trust refused to comment.