Search Results for: helen percy

Helen Percy

We might sing a little hallelujah today for the tenacity and courage of Helen Percy. Her discrimination case with the Church of Scotland was settled out of court.
The details of Helen’s case are not really the point any more – the principle that she established was that a minister could approach an employment tribunal for redress when discriminated against. The C of S still apparently takes the position that this does not apply to parish ministers – Helen was an associate minister – as it still does not recognise that they are employed. Even a cursory reading of the House of Lords ruling makes it clear that this is not automatically so.

Discriminatory decisions taken by church leaders are likely to be very costly in the future.

I was at college with Helen, though did not know her well then. She has done a great service to many people in the church, both gay and straight, by refusing to give up her fight.

Viva Helen Percy

Helen Percy has won her legal case, gaining the right, as a former Church of Scotland minister to challenge the way she left her post on the grounds of sex discrimination.

As it happens I was at college with Helen, when she was famous in those days merely for keeping a pig and wearing the clergy tartan. 

The victory that she has won in the House of Lords today will change the relationship between clergy and churches for good. It is possible to be an office-holder and an employee. Moreover, it would seem that it is indeed the case, as some have argued before, that if you are treated as an employee (ie paid for services) then you are an employee. This case seems to establish that this is true even if what one is employed to do is religious and even if you work for a church which tries to wriggle out of employment law by claiming that it alone has jurisdiction over clerics.

A spokesperson for the C of S is claiming on the BBC website that "This judgement would not apply to other categories of ministers of religion." Having read the judgement, all 59 pages of it, I think that is plainly nonsense.

I think that Helen P has just got the House of Lords to rewrite every clergy personel guide in the UK. Moreover, employment tribunals do not only hear cases about sex discrimination. They do other forms of discrimination too.

Ho ho!