• International Workplace
  • 15 October 2019

GP sacked for refusing to call transgender person ‘madam’

A Christian doctor who claimed he was dismissed for refusing to call a transgender woman “she” because of his faith has lost his case at an Employment Tribunal.

Dr David Mackereth claimed that he was having an “abstract discussion” with his manager when he commented that he would not “call any 6ft tall bearded man madam”. He was consequently dismissed.

Mackereth alleged the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) discriminated against his religious beliefs, but a tribunal panel unanimously concluded the “lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism in our judgment are incompatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others, specifically here, transgender individuals”.

Concluding, the tribunal panel said: “In our unanimous judgment there was no contravention of part 5 of the Equality Act 2010 and the claimant was not subjected to discrimination.”

Dr Mackereth has said he will appeal, stating that there was no deliberate desire to offend people. But the tribunal “found that his beliefs were likely to cause offence and have the effect of violating a transgender person’s dignity or creating a proscribed environment or subjecting a transgender person to less favourable treatment”.

Andrea Williams, Christian Legal Centre chief executive, commented:

“This is an astonishing judgment and one that if upheld will have seismic consequences not just for the NHS and for Christians, but anyone in the workplace who is prepared to believe and say that we are created male and female.”

A DWP spokesman said:

“We acted to protect claimants from behaviour that would have failed to treat them with dignity, so we welcome this ruling.”