0300 333 0303

Jehovah’s Witness sacked as a fitness coach wins unfair dismissal case

August 18 2014

A Jehovah’s Witness who was sacked as a fitness coach after telling a gym member that yoga would allow ‘evil’ into her body has won a pay out for unfair dismissal.

Maciej Grochowski, was sacked from his role at the Virgin Active gym in Middleton after several warnings over complaints he was making staff and clients uncomfortable by discussing his beliefs.

The Manchester Evening News reports that he was finally given the boot after writing a series of e-mails to bosses spelling out his religious opinions on issues such as Halloween and satanism.

An employment tribunal ruled he was unfairly dismissed as he had not breached the terms of a final warning banning him from discussing religion when it was ‘unwelcome’ or ‘made others feel uncomfortable’.

Virgin Active was ordered to pay Mr Grochowski £653.50 – after a 75 per cent reduction for his conduct prior to the dismissal.

But employment judge David Jones, at Manchester Civil Justice Centre, ruled that the trainer had not been discriminated against because of his religious beliefs.

Mr Grochowski was first warned about his behaviour in June 2011, after several members contacted the gym to see when he was working so they could avoid being there at the same time.

They explained they felt uncomfortable because of his frequent discussions on religious beliefs.

Within a fortnight a colleague complained about ‘homophobic views’ he had raised in the staff room.

He was suspended just days later after police were called when he refused to leave after turning up for work on his day off.

He was suspended for a second time and then given a final written warning in September 2012 after telling a woman who was taking a yoga class that the activity was ‘dangerous’ as it ‘opened up the chakras (energy points) and allowed evil in’.

He was sacked for breaching the warning after sending the e-mails in November 2012. But the court ruled the warning did not constitute a ‘blanket ban’ on discussing religion and Mr Grochowski had no cause to think he would cause distress.

Virgin Active declined to comment when contacted by the Manchester Evening News.

Mr Grochowski could not be reached when asked for a comment.

For more information on your Employment Rights click here.

If you are an employee and require support problems within the work place, call UnionLine on 0300 333 0303.