Fired For Wearing A Collar

Here’s an interesting account of a legal case in Great Britain, involving the dismissal of a midwife from her employment as a consequence of her insistence on wearing the silver collar that symbolized her status as a consensual slave:

The UK is not yet ready to recognise “consensual slavery”.

The issue arose last week as the long-predicted collision between protections for “philosophical belief” and proponents of the BDSM (bondage, discipline, sado-masochistic) lifestyle hit the courts in Bedford. In balance was the claim by a local midwife that her dismissal for wearing an emblem of her beliefs – a silver collar – was discriminatory.

Not so, according to North and East Herts Health Authority, which represented this as purely an issue of health and safety.

Nonsense, shot back the midwife, alleging a distinctly lesser degree of fastidiousness over the wearing of other traditional (religious) symbols and costume. And the game was afoot.

The heart of the matter was whether her lifestyle was capable of constituting a belief in accordance with the employment equality (religion or belief) regulations 2003, which have already seen beliefs in foxes’ rights and the hypothesis of man-made global warming – not to mention a belief in the higher purpose of public service broadcasting – all ruled capable of being protected philosophical beliefs.

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3 comments on “Fired For Wearing A Collar”:

Oogersmoogle commented on August 23rd, 2011 at 12:04 am:

Even though I enjoy some bondage myself. I don’t have a problem with someone firing someone else for a difference of belief or traits whether it’s because of religion, race, gender, or, in this case, sex life. I thinks it’s stupid to fire someone if they can do the job, but I also feel that it is the employers right to hire who they want and not have other people, especially the government, come in and tell them otherwise. If someone doesn’t want to hire, or only wants to hire, people of a certain race, gender, or sexual orientation or interest, I think that they have that right as the employer, and consumers also have the right to purchase goods and services from companies that have hiring practices they agree with. However, I’m not sure how wearing a collar is a health and safety issue.

On another note, the word discrimination has taken on an entirely negative meaning, even though people discriminate all the time. If someone choose to eat a burger instead of a hotdog they were being discriminating. Yes it is true that firing her for wearing a collar was discriminatory, but it would also be true if they fired her for stealing. In fact, if they hired her over someone else, they were being discriminatory then as well.

Rope Guy commented on August 23rd, 2011 at 7:13 am:

What you feel the law should be is one thing, but it’s important to note that this story is set in the UK and what the law actually says there is quite another thing. The right you think employers should have, they do not IN FACT have in the UK.

There, the law does in fact prohibit some employment discrimination based on beliefs — making this a story about just how far that law goes or doesn’t go.

Tightly Bound commented on August 27th, 2011 at 5:03 am:

Legalities aside, keep your fucking sex life (whatever it may be) out of the workplace. Nobody cares.

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