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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 12:07 GMT
Atheist teacher wins job tribunal
David McNab
David McNab had hoped to apply for promotion at a Catholic school
A teacher who is an atheist has won an employment tribunal case in which he claimed he was prevented from applying for promotion at a Catholic school.

David McNab, a maths teacher at St. Paul's Roman Catholic High School in Glasgow was told he needed Catholic church approval to apply for the post.

He took the city council to tribunal, claiming religious discrimination.

Glasgow City Council and the Roman Catholic Church are now studying the implications of the ruling.

The tribunal decided Mr McNab had been discriminated against on human rights grounds.

I just hope now everyone can go for every job - although I don't think that will happen
David McNab

First, by article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees freedom of thought and religion, and also article 14 which prohibits discrimination.

The tribunal's full judgement will be published later this week.

Mr McNab told BBC Radio's Newsdrive programme that he had been "devastated" when his headteacher had told him that only candidates with approval of the Catholic church would be considered for the post of principal teacher of pastoral care.

Mr McNab said: "You have a teacher of pastoral care at every secondary school in Scotland, so it's not an exclusively Catholic post.

"Secondly, the Scottish Executive accepted a new law in 2003 that said you cannot discriminate on the grounds of religion, so that's why I felt I was right to do what I've done.

'A fair deal'

"Not being a lawyer, not understanding how these things work, just being the poor chap who's had to fork out a lot of money for this case, I'm very glad I've won, and basically I hope it helps every other teacher in the future to get a fair deal in the promotion stakes.

"I just hope now everyone can go for every job - although I don't think that will happen."

Michael McGrath, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, said: "The Catholic Church was not involved in this case and will study the full judgement in detail when it becomes available.

"We note with interest, however, the tribunal's finding that all appointments to all posts in Catholic schools require the approval of the Catholic Church.

"This finding is in accord with the view of the church and has been advised to all local authorities in Scotland.

"The church endorses the finding of the tribunal that a system of "reserved posts" is not justified in law."

Watch the implications of the decision

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