Christian school worker granted right to appeal dismissal in Court of Appeal over transgender education critique

Kristie Higgs
Kristie Higgs |

Kristie Higgs, a school worker dismissed for Facebook posts expressing her religious beliefs about sex education, has won the right to appeal her case to the Court of Appeal. Lady Justice Elisabeth Laing ruled that all of Higgs's appeal grounds have "arguable prospects of success," raising important questions about employee rights and religious expression.

"Even if they were not, this appeal raises at least three important questions about the dismissal of an employee for the expression of her beliefs," Laing stated. 

The case centers around two Facebook posts Higgs shared in 2018 criticizing government plans for mandatory sex education in schools and expressing concerns about books promoting transgender ideology. Higgs was investigated and subsequently dismissed for "gross misconduct," despite the posts being made on her personal account and outside of work hours.

Higgs's initial appeal was dismissed in 2020, and subsequent challenges faced delays due to recusals from panel members. Now, with the Court of Appeal approving her appeal on all grounds, Higgs hopes for "full justice." She maintains that her dismissal was based on her Christian beliefs and her right to express them freely.

"From the beginning, despite the many attempts by the school to suggest otherwise, this has always been about my Christian beliefs and me being discriminated against for expressing them in my own time," she said.

"I was, and still am, appalled by the sexual ideology that was being introduced to my son's Church of England primary school. What has happened since in schools with extreme RSE and transgender ideology shows that I was right to be concerned as a parent."

The Christian Legal Centre, supporting Higgs, emphasizes the case's significance for Christian freedoms and the right of employees to voice dissent against LGBT+ ideology without fear of job loss. The Court of Appeal hearing is expected to take place this year, potentially setting a precedent for religious expression and employee rights within the workplace.