Published: 08:50 GMT Daylight Time - Thursday 11 August 2011
Palm cross van driver suspended in UK
Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe
|The palm cross Mr Atkinson put on the dashboard of his van|
The Christian employee who successfully won his appeal to display a palm cross in his company van has been suspended.
Colin Atkinson had faced dismissal after refusing to remove the eight-inch woven palm cross from his dashboard after a complaint from a tenant. He had placed them in his van throughout the 15 years he had been working for the Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) association and had never previously received any complaints.
Despite a dramatic U-turn by his employers, which allowed him to display the cross, Mr Atkinson has reportedly continued to face problems at his work.
"WDH have broken faith with me and not restored me to my job as they promised," said Mr Atkinson.
After a holiday in June, he says he returned to find the agreement, which was made in April, "completely blown apart" when he was told to transfer to a new workplace, Winston House in Wakefield.
He said that he had no van at his new workplace and was told to either use his own or use public transport.
"I was told to travel in by bus and I suffered harassment at work. This is all because I wanted to keep a small palm cross in my van. I have not done anything wrong and I just want to return to my normal workplace."
"They said I could go back to a normal workplace and a normal job but I was told I must transfer to a new workplace. I was absolutely appalled by it. I was flabbergasted - I couldn't believe what I was hearing. So I lodged a grievance, saying they had broken the initial agreement signed in April."
Mr Atkinson was then suspended after speaking to the media about what happened to him.
"I've got a right to speak out in the national interest, the interest of the British public and a right to defend myself," he said.
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