I am trying harder to report outcomes involving stories covered here. Toward that end, a social worker disciplined for giving a colleague an anti-abortion tract has settled her case. From the Telegraph story:
A Christian mental health worker who was sacked over her stance on abortion has settled her legal action against the NHS out of court. Margaret Forrester, a Roman Catholic, was dismissed after a dispute which stemmed from her giving a colleague an anti-abortion booklet. She was told that the booklet, highlighting potential physical and psychological damage some women suffer after an abortion, amounted to “offensive” material. Miss Forrester, 40, from Battersea, south London, lodged a High Court action against her former employer, the North West London NHS Trust, accusing it of breaching her human rights.
She claimed that the NHS had become “dangerously totalitarian” on the issue of abortion. She was also due to go to an employment tribunal later this year alleging unfair dismissal, religious discrimination and religious harassment. But last night the Thomas More Legal Centre, the charity representing Miss Forrester, announced that both cases had been settled for an undisclosed sum. Under the terms of the deal neither side can disclose details of the settlement but the trust said it had paid out a “a fraction” of what the case would have cost the NHS had it come to court.
Well, 99% is a fraction of the total asked and moreover, the NHS might have had to pay lawyers fees, etc.
That point aside, I hope Forrester won some justice here. But this case shows why I am adamantly opposed to confidential settlements in most cases. It thwarts one major virtue of civil law–adverse publicity as a deterrent to wrong action.