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DWP refuse to hire doctor who will not use correct pronouns for patients

Hazel Southwell July 8, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 03: A Job Centre in Westminster on May 3, 2016 in London, England. The Resolution Foundation, chaired by former Conservative Minister David Willets, has said the Government's benefit reform has "veered off track" due to cost-cutting. They say that 2.5 million families could be worse off, some by over 3,000 a year. Universal Credit is a single payment and replaces six current benefits, including Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

The Department of Work and Pensions has confirmed it will enforce the Equalities Act 2010 in its hiring policies by not hiring a doctor who does not want to use the correct pronouns for patients during work assessments.

Dr David Mackereth sought employment as a work and health assessor for the DWP, which is responsible for assessing and issuing benefits. As part of his training process, he was required to acknowledge that – as per the Equalities Act 2010 – all DWP employees must refer to patients and clients by their indicated gender and pronouns.

Dr Mackereth refused to do this, which led to the DWP terminating the employment process during his initial training period.

Mackereth alleges that this refusal is part of his Reformed Baptist Christian beliefs, although also cites more general reasons for his refusal.

“I believe that gender is defined by biology and genetics. And that as a Christian the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female.I could have kept my mouth shut. But, it was the right time to raise it.

“The tutor took me aside and said he had passed my comments up the chain to the DWP.”

 

LONDON - OCTOBER 21: A sign is displayed in the window of a Job Centre in Westminster on October 21, 2010 in London, United Kingdom. The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecasted that up to 490,000 jobs in the public sector could be lost in the next four years, after yesterdays spending review announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Mr Osborne has defended the UK spending cuts he announced yesterday after Labour and other critics claimed that slashing welfare and housing benefits would hit the poorest in society hardest.
(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Dr Mackereth, who qualified in 1989, has not been dismissed from any positions nor has he been struck off the medical register, after failing to meet the requirements for a DWP assessor job.

Mackereth would have been employed to assess patients for their eligibility for benefits and fitness for work, something that LGBT people have particularly struggled with recently including the organiser of lesbians and gays support the miners losing her benefits over the ability to maintain eye contact and a man being offered gay conversion therapy by an assessor.

Mackereth says that not being allowed to use what pronouns he likes for his patients is a violation of his beliefs, “Firstly, we are not allowed to say what we believe. Secondly, as my case shows, we are not allowed to think what we believe. Finally, we are not allowed to defend what we believe.

“By stating what has been believed by mankind for centuries – namely that gender and sex are determined at birth – you can come under ferocious attack.

“If we are no longer allowed to say that you believe sex and gender are the same and are determined at birth, everyone who holds my views can be sacked on the spot under this Act. I’m not an isolated case.”

A DWP spokesperson said “Dr Mackereth made it clear during his training that he would refuse to use pronouns which did not match his own view of a person’s biological gender.

“We expect all assessors to handle assessments sensitively and adhere to the Equality Act 2010.”

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