A senior paediatric nursing lecturer has been struck off after he had made comments to a Sikh colleague mocking his religion.
Maurice Slaven has been stripped of his nursing licence by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) – after a 22-year-long career – for racially harassing his co-worker from 2016 to 2018, including by referring to his turban as a hat and a bandage.
The former lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, in Cambridge, also referred to Sikhs as “you lot”, made jokes about the religion’s founder Guru Nanak, and made comments about Sikh children using “swords”, an NMC tribunal heard.
Mr Slaven, who admitted the allegations but did not attend the hearing, claimed his comments were “banter between friends”.
Referring to his colleague’s turban, the NMC heard that Mr Slaven said: “why aren’t you wearing your bandage?”. He also asked, “where’s your hat?”, before insisting “no, it’s a hat” when his colleague corrected him.
He also told his co-worker – who the tribunal referred to as ‘Colleague 1’ – “you seem to take all the religious holidays off, and even Christmas and that’s not your holiday” and “you lot, Sikhs, have all these religious holidays”.
When discussing a charity appeal for toys for Sikh children, Mr Slaven said: “What Sikh toys? Do you mean daggers, knives and swords?”
The Kirpan is a curved sword that is one of the five articles of faith that Sikhs must wear at all times.
According to the tribunal, Mr Slaven had said: “Me and Guru Nanak are best buddies, I know him really well and he said he’ll be dressing up as Father Christmas this year.”
He also said “Indians came to the UK in a banana boat”, the tribunal heard.
A tribunal report said: “[The NMC] considered the misconduct to be serious because Mr Slaven was in a position of trust teaching future nursing professionals.
“He was required to be a role model for students and staff, and his behaviour towards Colleague 1 represented a significant departure from the standards expected of a nurse.
“Mr Slaven held a position of influence over future nurses. Colleague 1 expressed fear for ‘ethnic minority students who could be unfavoured by him in terms of teaching’.”
After 15 years in the Royal Air Force, Mr Slaven qualified as a children’s nurse in 1997. He has worked at a number of NHS hospitals and children’s hospices.
It was reported that Mr Slaven had a profile on the website of Anglia Ruskin University, where he had worked since 2010. A search of the website shows the profile has since been removed.
But a cached version of the page shows itread: “His interest lies in paediatric palliative care and the historical, religious and cultural concepts as well as the personal experiences of nursing staff involved in the preparation of dead bodies for disposal.”
Anglia Ruskin University said in a statement that is is “committed to fostering an inclusive culture that promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a supportive working, learning and social environment for all students and staff,” adding: “The matter was dealt with in accordance with our internal procedures and the individual is no longer employed by ARU.”