A Christian school worker sacked for Facebook posts raising concerns about transgenderism and sex education has won the right to appeal her case.
Kristie Higgs, 45, worked as a pastoral assistant at Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire, for seven years before being dismissed in January 2019.
Mrs Higgs shared two Facebook posts in October 2018, one of a petition expressing concern about Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), and the other of an article about children’s books in American schools containing transgender ideology.
The school received an anonymous complaint calling Mrs Higgs’ views “homophobic and prejudiced”, and she was subsequently sacked for gross misconduct.
She lost her religious discrimination claim at Bristol Employment Tribunal last October when it ruled that her dismissal was “the result of a genuine belief on the part of the school that she had committed gross misconduct”.
“Although not stated as clearly or simply as this, the act of which we concluded Mrs Higgs was accused and eventually found guilty was posting items on Facebook that might reasonably lead people who read her posts to conclude that she was homophobic and transphobic,” said Employment Judge Reed.
“That behaviour, the school felt, had the potential for a negative impact in relation to various groups of people, namely pupils, parents, staff and the wider community.”
Judge Tayler, sitting in the Employment Appeal Tribunal in London this week, has now called that decision into question and granted Mrs Higgs permission to appeal.
He said: “This appeal potentially raises important issues on the approach to be adopted by the Tribunals to manifestation and expression of beliefs.”
Mrs Higgs said she was “delighted” by the judge’s decision to allow the appeal to proceed.
“I have to continue to fight for justice so that no one else has to go through what I have,” she said.
“I want parents to have the freedom to bring their children up in line with their Christian beliefs, I want young children to be protected from this harmful ideology.
“Christians must also to be able to share their opinions and beliefs without fear of losing their jobs.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is defending Mrs Higgs said: “The story of Kristie Higgs should concern all of us who care about the freedom to be a Christian believer in the UK. We are pleased the judge has granted permission to appeal this crucial case.”