Light blue touchpaper and withdraw

Here is a story about prejudice that reinforces several other prejudices about Christian fundamentalists, Council workers and lawyers.

Pink News reports that:

"A Christian council worker who was sacked for sending a homophobic email is suing her former employers.

"Denise Haye, 25, worked at Lewisham Council’s legal services department.

Last September, she used her work email address to send an email to Rev Sharon Ferguson, head of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.
She wrote that Rev Ferguson should be "ashamed" of herself and that homosexuality was "not normal" and a sin. Citing the importance of repenting in the "last days", Haye added, in capitals, "the wages of sin is death".


The email was raised with Lewisham Council and Haye is now taking Lewisham Council to court for unfair dismissal. She was suspended for six months and then dismissed.

Her 'case' is based on the notion that as she sent the email 'out of hours', she should be entitled to express her own opinions. The time she sent the email? 4.59pm.

Her lawyer is from the Christian Legal Centre and thinks that if her views are based on religious teachings she's free to abuse whom she pleases.

Lewisham Council has said it cannot comment while the case is ongoing.

60 comments:

Matt-Z said...

She is a mentalist and deserved to lose her job for sending an email like that from her work computer. Whatever your beliefs, you have to leave them at the door when working in the public sector.

I'd be amazed if her appeal was upheld.

Anonymous said...

Agreed

lady said...

I doubt she'll get anywhere with counsel who bases her practice on religious rather than legal doctrine. I hope.

Headhunter said...

So this is where my council tax increase over the rate of inflation is going. I'm always surprised at how stupid people can be. Why on earth would you ever send an email like that from a work address? It's just asking for trouble! It doesn't take 2 minutes to set up a Hotmail account...

Damien said...

Work e-mails are the property of the employer and I'd also would be surprised if she succeeds.

'Her lawyer is from the Christian Legal Centre and thinks that if her views are based on religious teachings she's free to abuse whom she pleases.' - great stuff Nick, worthy of the great Charlie Brooker.

monkeyboy said...

thats right. I always send my homophobic abuse from my gmail account. This is like a daily mail wet dream.

Brockley Nick said...

@Monkeyboy - I disagree.

It will induce cognitive dissonance in Mailers.

On the one hand, you have a nutter ex-Council employee with a daft legal case, on the other hand, you have a 'loony-left' Council sacking someone for expressing the same sorts of sentiments that they pay Richard Littlejohn huge sums to churn out on a weekly basis.

drakefell debaser said...

Miss Haye and her ilk are hideous people as this blog that defends her demonstrates.

http://ow.ly/tosP

monkeyboy said...

post in on the mail website and watch the mail eat itself. Bit like pouring salt on a slug.

mb said...

how's zimbabwe dd?

drakefell debaser said...

I am not there yet MB, should get there around 1pm Mugabe Time on Sunday.

Tressillian James said...

I'm more shocked that it took 6 months of paid for leave before she was let go.....paid for by my pink pound

Anonymous said...

I am always suprised that anyone who is Gay can also be a Christian given the amount of Homophobic writing there is in the Bible.

Am I not right in thinking most of the world's major religions have writings denouncing Homosexuality?

monkeyboy said...

...this should be good.

By the way, have you seen the poster under the bridge? Say what you like about Christians, they have GREAT teeth.

maxink said...

Just yesterday I read the third episode of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and was struck by this beautiful verse:
You worthy souls
who make it your ambition
to rid us of the vice that's in our hearts,
should first attend our problem with nutrition.
Let that be where your moralizing starts.

Hugh said...

I didn't know Nick liked cock.

The Cat Man said...

Sadly, this is not the first case of 'religion vs homosexuality'. Not to long ago, there was the case in islington whereby a christian refused to adminster civil partnerships despite being a registrar. That went to court, and sadly the registrar won and only on an appeal was it over turned.

Id further add that not all christians are bigots, it is merely a certain type of chrsitam persons interpretation - typical of fundamentalists 'new' groups like those springing up around brockley.

Anonymous said...

What, you mean like these white guys? http://bit.ly/1EwPSw

or are you thinking of a particular type around SE London...you erm know..not from europe (wink, wink)

It's bigotry, homophobic, xenophobic. Much the same really, or is being despised by white Christians not as bad ?

Anonymous said...

Has Anton du Beke or Bruce had anything to say about this?

Jaqu Hughes said...

Much like the ethnophobia that exists amongst posters to this site. How many really seek to 'cleanse' Brockley with the use of words like 'gentrification' - which really means get rid of darky. (You only fool yourselves.)

Paddyom said...

What a horrible woman - she seems to think its ok to make ignorant bigoted remarks so long as its not done via work email. What a stupid lady. If I made anti-Christian sectarian comments I am sure she would pounce as a wounded 'victim' and demand 'justice'. She should pi$$ off and get a life.
*sorry Nick*

Raven said...

Totally agree with Matt-Z, the first commenter. That is was on her employer's time and PC should result in some serious action by Lewisham Council. That she was sending hate mail, whether or not in 'work time' should result in some other action by police.

While I'm not gay (but some of my best friends are!) I am of the non-white variety where we've had this 'freedom of speech' debate many a time esp. recently in relation to members of far-right parties. Good luck to the Rev. (though I agree with someone earlier, what is she doing in the church!!).

Glenda said...

Brockley Nick:
The comment No 6 from MB re homophobic abuse should be deleted immediately.
Any abuse of a homophobic or racist nature is illegal.
MB's comments are highly offensive and bigoted and I am extremely upset by them.

Thanks Nick
Glenda

Anonymous said...

jeez. I give up with this place sometimes

drakefell debaser said...

A Daily Mail reader by any chance?

Sparkly shoes said...

Brockley Nick;

The comment from Glenda above is too moronic to be on the internet.

Please delete immediately.

SS

mg said...

@DD Are you on a trip just when Frank Black is practically in SE4?!

mintness said...

Speaking as another fully paid-up SE4-side gayer, I can only add that it's the "doing this kind of thing on work time" aspect that riles me the most. Homophobic sentiment - actively abusive or passively seething - is nothing new and I'd never dream of trying to force someone to change their personal views, whether imparted by religion, family, society or whatever. Raise awareness as a "community" by all means, but there's absolutely no point in striving to eradicate it altogether because it simply won't happen - you only have to look at the freakazoid comments on dd's link above to see that. Far better to concentrate one's energy on enjoying life, friends and recycled mung bean puns.

graeme said...

Frank Black? The Pixies? completely trumps whatever tenuous claim to fame that anyone's previously made about this area.

I think I'll have to go and lie down.

Annoyed said...

No wonder I couldn't get through to this department at 4.59

monkeyboy said...

glenda, it was a satirical point about people being more offended about using company email than homophobic abuse. Go lie down in a darkened room for a while.

The Cat Man said...

I'm not particually bothered by the comment as I took it in jest.

Thats the difference - some people have a sense of humour and others do not. Theres no right or wrong answer, merely just a difference in interpretation.

Live and let live

drakefell debaser said...

@DD Are you on a trip just when Frank Black is practically in SE4?!

Yes, I was a little peeved when I saw the tour dates but he will be over again soon, I hope.

Headhunter said...

In fairness Monkeyboy, your satirical point about people being more offended about the use of company email than the comments themselves seemed to be a reaction to my comment about setting up a Hotmail account to send abuse, which was meant in jest!

M said...

Surely Glenda's post is a hoax? Nobody could miss the joke to that extent could they? Even on here.

mb said...

we were having a jest fest. I got the joke, others may not have. Now i'd better go, i'm using tfl money. Boris will NOT be happy.

The Cat Man said...

MB, any money you save will just be used on fraudulent expenses at city hall so I wouldn't worry too much.

Now that tfl have taken over the running of Brockley station, have you got any gossip to spill?

Anonymous said...

..or sending out homophobic emails

drakefell debaser said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brockley Nick said...

I like the people who work in the ticket office - always very pleasant - although I've never asked for any "complicated" tickets.

Anonymous said...

Ahh....the poor old Rev. Why are these people so easily offended by someone disagreeing with them? And why do they think they can use that offence to silence opposing views? Suck it up and learn to debate, rather than crying to a PC council and letting it throw its weight around for you. You may not like her views but in a liberal democracy she has the right to express them. Just like those who are ignorantly applying the label "bigot" to her are free to express their idiocy publically if they so wish.

The Cat Man said...

Nick, I also generally like the ticket office staff, there was only one lady who was 'bigging it up' to me when I said I wanted to make a complaint about her conduct.

The point about complicated tickets is sadly correct. I'm sitting here in wythall (Birmingham) after getting a ticket issued from Brockley this morning which was subsequently refused by virgin trains. Apparently it was the wrong 'type' issued. Now I need to go through a whole convoluted process to get my money back.

Anonymous said...

I've never had a problem with the staff at Brockley. At least they're able to sell you a ticket to Euston. I've had ticket office staff at Euston telling me it's impossible for them to sell me a ticket to Brockley (with underground) because they don't know the code for it. Same has happened at Paddington.

Headhunter said...

I used the ticket machines. They always know what they're doing and don't have any trace of attitude.

Ian said...

@Headhunter

In defense of the Brockley station staff, I was impressed by their ability to quickly and painlessly provide a "day return from the boundary of Zone 4 to Tunbridge Wells, with Gold Card discount". Try getting one of those from a ticket machine.

Headhunter said...

TBH, Ian, I usually find the ticket office staff to be OK, but I'm sure you could buy that ticket froim the machine if you wished. I regularly buy tickets across London to Luton, Luton Airport and out to various destinations in Kent with a Railcard discount and the machine has been fine.

Anonymous said...

Those of you who have left comments regarding this case already if you had any brains you would get the full story first. Denise did not send a personal email to LGCM she responded to the feedback enquiry page and LGCM breached her confidentiality when talebaring to Lewisham Council to spitefully get her sacked. Secondly she did it in her own time. Thirdly nothing in the message was homophobic but it was based on biblical scripture not her own opinions. Not out of hatred, malice or homophobia but out of concern that LGCM actually think homosexuality is good practice accoding to scripture. she witnessed the faith to them out of love concerned that the punishment for homosexual practice according to scripute is not heaven but hell.why cant you people see that. if anyones the one stiring up hatred its LGCM not densie. her fight is against the council not against LGCM they can do what they want, the council are the ones who have discrimnated against denise. you cant call a person homophobic becasue they dont agree with the practice based on the faith of the gospel thats labelling and its wrong. LGCM are the ones discriminating against anyone who doesnt agree with them..thats the truth

Anonymous said...

And you can't understand writing when the punctuation is missing.

Headhunter said...

If you read the article properly yourself, the reports says:

"Haye admitted she had used her work email address"

Whether or not she actually specifically sent an email from her work address using Outlook is besides the point. She must have filled her work email address in on the feedback form. Surely that counts as USING a work email address? If not, why not?

She did the deed in her own time? 4.59pm? Surely even council workers work until at least 5pm. However you may be right on this, she may have taken a day off or something that day but do you know for certain this is the case? What makes you so sure that 4.59pm on weekday was "her own time"?

As for whether her comments were homophobic, I wouldn't call expressing distaste for another person's way of life for whatever reason, exactly supportive! She called homosexuality "not normal" and a sin and that "the wages of sin is (sic) death". Pretty damning stuff. Doesn't sound "loving" to me.

As for what the scripture says about homosexuality, it's highly, highly controversial with many different interpretations possible. In fact many believe the bible actually describes 3 homosexual relationships - those of Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan and Daniel and Ashpenaz.

The message this woman sent out of "concern", is hardly back by undoubted truth, I'm afraid, even if you are a devout believer in the bible. It remains simply an opinion.

Anonymous said...

In fact, Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality in the Bible. It's all down to Paul.

Anonymous said...

...O'Grady?

oryx said...

Anon. @ 13.44

The member of staff has, I would argue, breached Lewisham's own commitment to equality & diversity. Their statement (easily accessible on their web page) states:

'Equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination is a fundamental right and this council has a duty to exercise leadership to promote this right. We intend to promote equality and prevent discrimination through our roles as service provider, employer and community leader.'

Every employer I've worked for also has something in their policy on internet use as regards using a work email address for a purpose like this.

I'm unsure how sacking an employee for sending a homophobic email from a council email address counts as 'discrimination'.

oryx said...

PS And while I agree with most of you on the 'homophobia having no place at a local authority regardless of what the Bible or anyone else says', I don't like some of the inferences about council workers.

I've worked for several councils (not this one, by the way) and the vast majority of staff are dedicated, hard-working and often deal with some very disgruntled people.

And it's not like private sector staff ever spend time on the internet, leave early etc., now is it? ;-)

A bucket of cool water. said...

What were her working hours on the day that the email was sent at 4.59pm.
Not everyone works 9-5pm

Also this is two Christians disputing interpretation religious text. Akin to the type disputes that the average prostestant vicar said about the idol worshipping Catholic.

She views the LGCM as the average person as the scientologist.
If she was abusive unacceptable, if she was quoting scripture, then that is something else.

The rush to judgement and to condemn the 'bad' christian v the 'good' gay is indicative of the knee-jerk and simplistic approach people take to religious matters in the post "God Delusion" world.

Tressilliana said...

On the facts here, it amazes me that it took that long to dismiss her. However, on the point of whether 4.59pm is within her working day, lots of public sector workers have part-time jobs or flexible working arrangements. So she might have finished her allotted hours for the day and stayed on a few minutes to send this urgent message of hate. That's the problem, that she used her Lewisham council email address/PC for the purpose. If she'd done it from home instead using her own email address I doubt the council could have done much about it.

Headhunter said...

I agree Tressilliana, the problem arises in her apparent use of Lewisham BC computer equipment and a Lewisham BC email address to express an opinion which flies in teh face of Lewisham BC's own diversity policy.

I don't condone her views but in a free society I suppose she is entitled to her opinions, she may have been quoting scripture, but scripture does not categorically state that homosexuality is wrong, that is simply an interpretation, so these views were simply that - views, opinions and conjecture rather than the cast iron word of god.

If she wishes to express these opinions and enter into a discussion on the interpretation of scripture and its views on homosexulaity, let her do it on her own computer and using her own email address (and in her own time).

Anonymous said...

The use of caps as a sign off is often the signature of a mentalist (un-PC I know).

"THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH" in the context given is not too far from

STAY GAY AND DIE.

Scripture or no, the girl is wholly unsuitable for a career in public service. There's a lovely photo of this delightful, charming, caring christian here:

http://tinyurl.com/ygzkbnv

Much ranting about the pernicious nature of homosexuality and persecution of christians too. I'd also add that denise is surely lying - She says she posted her comments before realising that it was a website for gays: “There was an inquiry form page that I went onto, which invites you to give opinions, so I went on to witness to them. It wasn’t with any malicious intent and it wasn’t with any hatred; it was out of sheer concern,”

The site could not be clearer in stating what it is about and the aims of the site. The girl is a bigot, end of story.

I hate to think our council taxes may pay for this non-case to have its day in court.

Danja said...

in the post "God Delusion" world

If only.

Anonymous said...

http://www.facebook.com/denise.haye

Headhunter said...

It's actually shocking to me that a black woman should be so blind to equality issues. I genuinely wonder how she would feel if the white male on the next desk had used his Lewisham BC email address to post something on the BNP or National Front websites...

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