Former prison worker to challenge tribunal ruling over his right to read Bible passages to inmates.
- Credit: Archant
A former Littlehey Prison worker is to appear at an employment tribunal today (Thursday) to challenge a ruling over his right to read Bible passages to inmates.
Barry Trayhorn claimed he was discriminated against because of his Christian faith when he was disciplined by Littlehey Prison for explaining a Bible passage during a Christian chapel service.
In March 2016, an employment tribunal ruled there was no discrimination and that the prison, in Perry, had acted properly in disciplining him.
Mr Trayhorn, an ordained Pentecostal minister, worked as a prison gardener and volunteered in the chapel at HMP Littlehey, a prison for sex offenders. He started work at the prison as a gardener in May 2011, and in 2012 started to assist at some chapel services on a voluntary basis.
During a service in May 2014, Mr Trayhorn spoke of God’s forgiveness for those who repent, quoting 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 from memory. The verses speak of people who had been forgiven a number of sins, including adultery, greed, drunkenness and homosexual sexual activity.
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But four days after the service, a complaint was made about Mr Trayhorn’s orthodox Christian teaching, and he was immediately barred from participating in future chapel services. Over the following weeks, a series of issues were raised about his conduct as a gardener at the prison, prompting disciplinary procedures.
Mr Trayhorn resigned from his job in November 2014, saying that he had been harassed because of his Christian faith and that it was impossible for him to return to work, given the way that he had been treated. Two days after his resignation, a disciplinary hearing was held in his absence, at which he was given a final written warning.
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Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Mr Trayhorn took his case to an Employment Tribunal in November 2015, claiming that he had been punished by the prison because of his Christian faith, but the tribunal ruled against him.