Kristie Higgs, a school worker who was sacked over extreme Facebook rants in which she attacked LGBT+ “brainwashing”, has lost her employment tribunal case after attempting to argue she was discriminated against for Christian beliefs.
A tribunal told the 44-year-old Wednesday (October 7) that she had been sacked for making “homophobic and transphobic” comments, not for being a Christian, as she had argued.
She had been employed at Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire for seven years, but was sacked for gross misconduct in 2018 after complaints regarding her Facebook posts ranting about LGBT+ inclusive education.
In one of the posts, Higgs shared a petition from anti-LGBT+ lobbying group CitizenGo attacking “LGBT indoctrination” in schools.
She accused schools of “brainwashing our children” through inclusive relationships education, which she claimed “means, for example, that children will be taught that all relationships are equally valid and ‘normal’, so that same sex marriage is exactly the same as traditional marriage, and that gender is a matter of choice, not biology, so that it’s up to them what sex they are”.
Higgs exhorted her followers: “Please sign this petition, they have already started to brainwash our innocent wonderfully created children and it’s happening in our local primary school now.”
After being sacked for misconduct, Higgs brought a challenge against the school with help from the Christian Legal Centre, an offshoot of the anti-LGBT lobbying group Christian Concern that often provides pro bono legal representation to people who have made homophobic comments.
On Wednesday, Higgs’ case was dismissed. Employment Judge Derek Reed affirmed that Higgs was sacked was “because the school felt that the language used in those posts might reasonably lead someone who read them to conclude that she held [transphobic and homophobic] views” and because of “a genuine belief on the part of the school that she had committed gross misconduct.”
The ruling continues: “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.”
The tribunal also notes that Higgs had also “made it clear that she had no intention of desisting from making any further such posts in the future”.
Kristie Higgs attacks ‘harmful ideology’ of inclusive education after losing tribunal.
In a statement issued via the Christian Legal Centre, Higgs vowed to appeal.
She said: “I am disappointed to read the tribunal’s ruling, but plan to appeal and continue to fight for justice. I strongly maintain that I lost my job because of my Christian beliefs, beliefs which our society does not appear to tolerate or even understand anymore.”
In the release, Higgs again attacked “compulsory sex education being forced on my nine-year-old son at a Church of England primary school”, insisting: “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, said: “This judgment should concern all of us who care about the freedom to be a Christian believer in the UK.
“Kristie has supposedly been dismissed, not for the posts she made, but for a deliberately distorted and unkind interpretation of the content that she linked to.”
She added: “This hearing has exposed this clear injustice and we will support Kristie for as long as it takes to turn this around.”