Christian convert loses discrimination case

An Israeli lecturer in modern Hebrew who claimed she was made redundant after converting from Judaism to Christianity has had her case of religious discrimination dismissed.

At an employment tribunal in Reading, Judge Robin Lewis upheld Dr Tali Argov’s complaint of unfair dismissal, but ruled that the academic is not entitled to any compensation.

Dr Argov had been working at the Oxford Centre for Jewish and Hebrew Studies for eight years when she converted to Anglicanism in January 2008. Her husband, also an Israeli, had converted three years earlier and their children had been baptised.

She later lost her job and claimed to have been ostracised by colleagues. In March 2009 Dr Argov began legal proceedings, claiming discrimination dating back to her husband’s conversion.

Dr David Ariel, president of the centre, said Dr Argov had been made redundant for financial reasons. He said she had refused to teach the number of courses she was contracted for, and that there were discrepancies between her contract and that of other staff members.

The judge ruled that Dr Argov had been unfairly dismissed because she had not been properly notified of her right to appeal, because there was “unreasonable delay” in the appeal process and because the appeal process was “not conducted with appropriate or fair rigour”.

However, he said that there was no reliable evidence that her dismissal had been “tainted by religious discrimination.”

He added: “The alleged discriminator, Dr Ariel, did not know of [her] religious faith at the time he made the allegedly discriminatory decision.

“Even if he had been aware…he would not have taken that as a material consideration.”

Last updated: 10:15am, August 17 2010