UK nurse harasses Sikh colleague over religious beliefs, strikes off country’s medical register: The Tribune India


London, May 24

A qualified nurse and lecturer at a British university has been struck off the country’s medical register for misconduct, which involved harassing a Sikh colleague for his religious beliefs and mocking his turban as a ‘bandage’ and ‘a hat”.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) held a virtual hearing into the case against Maurice Slaven last week, over allegations of racial harassment of a fellow Sikh identified only as Colleague 1.

The NMC Tribunal received a recommendation for fitness to practice in March 2019 after co-worker 1 alleged that he had been repeatedly racially harassed by Slaven from the start of his employment in October 2016 until December 2018.

According to the evidence presented in court, Slaven allegedly asked Colleague 1 questions such as “Where is your bandage” and/or “Why aren’t you wearing your bandage” in reference to his turban.

“On October 29, 2018, following the publication of an article on the community work of Collegue 1 in a nursing magazine: i. Said you knew everything about Sikhism. ii. Said Guru Nanak was your best friend. iii. I asked colleague 1 where his ‘hat’ was,” the court noted.

“After colleague 1 pointed out that it was not a ‘hat’ but a ‘Turban’, he replied: ‘No, it’s a hat’ or words to that effect” , he adds.

Furthermore, the defendant allegedly made derogatory remarks such as Indians came to the UK in a ‘banana boat’ and used the phrase ‘you a lot’ when referring to British Sikhs.

Slaven, a senior lecturer in nursing at Anglia Ruskin University at the time, said he thought it was just “jokes between friends”.

“The committee understands that breaches of the Code do not automatically result in a finding of misconduct. However, he did not accept Mr Slaven’s explanation to the university’s human resources department that his comments were considered “chat between friends” and that at the time he had not not realize that they had offended co-worker 1,” the court noted.

“The panel found that any reasonable person would find Mr. Slaven’s comments offensive, and noted that Colleague 1 made it clear to Mr. Slaven that he found his behavior discriminatory and deeply distressing,” it adds.

Therefore, his misconduct was found to be a significant departure from the standards expected of a registered nurse and the committee determined that a suspension order would not be a “sufficient, appropriate or proportionate sanction”.

“The court therefore imposed an interim suspension order for a period of 18 months. If no appeal is filed, the Interim Suspension Order will be replaced by the Expungement Order 28 days after Mr. Slaven receives the decision of this hearing in writing,” he concluded.

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) said the matter had been handled in accordance with our internal procedures and that “the individual is no longer employed by ARU”.

Ruth R. Culp