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Seventh-day Adventist doc denied job over faith

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10:10 CET+01:00
Oslo University Hospital has received a reprimand from Norway’s anti-discrimination watchdog after it turned down a job applicant who said he didn’t believe in the theory of evolution.

The job seeker, a psychiatrist, reported the hospital to the anti-discrimination ombudsman after he received a rejection letter that seemed to cite his religious beliefs as grounds for not employing him, Christian newspaper Vårt Land reports.

 “We are quite far apart from one another in terms of worldview, and I don’t think it would really work,” the prospective employer wrote in the letter.

“My colleagues and I reacted strongly to the fact that they used that as a justification,” said the doctor, who asked not to be named.

“I opted to take the matter further in order to get confirmation from an independent body that this is not acceptable,” he told the newspaper.

In the course of the interview, the psychiatrist revealed that he was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The interviewer then asked him what he thought about the theory of evolution, which he said he didn’t accept as true.

In its ruling, the ombudsman said the hospital had discriminated against the applicant on the basis of his faith.  

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The regulator acknowledged that the employer was within its rights to take into account the psychiatrist’s views on evolution. But, the ombudsman added, the hospital had still breached anti-discrimination laws since it did not have sufficient grounds to conclude that the psychiatrist was unsuitable for the job.

Oslo University Hospital conceded that the initial rejection e-mail was poorly formulated and said it would not contest the decision.

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