Joe Hashman, a prominent U.K. gardener, has lost his job over philosophical objections to bloodsports. Hashman worked as a gardener at Orchard Park Garden Center, of Gillingham, Dorset. He is also a tireless anti-hunting activist. Yet the center's owners -- Ron and Sheila Clarke -- are supporters of foxhunting, as is company secretary, Lucinda Stokes. Hashman's efforts on behalf of animals eventually led to his dismissal.
Never one to back down, Hashman is fighting back. He has brought a lawsuit against Orchard Park Garden Center, alleging discrimination on the grounds of philosophical belief, and is seeking £50,000 (about $77,000) for loss of earnings and injury to feelings.
According to his lawyers, Hashman says that, in a telephone conversation with Orchard Park managing director Richard Cumming, "it was confirmed that his contract had been terminated because Lucinda Stokes, Sheila Clarke and her husband, as Board Members, were not happy that he was working for Orchard Park because he was an animal rights activist and hunt saboteur."
Do you think it was fair for Mr. Hashman to be fired because of his pro-animal beliefs? If not, take the time to let Ron and Sheila Clarke know how you feel, and ask them to either reinstate or settle with Joe Hashman.
Firing someone for their passionate philosophical beliefs is not only illegal under U.K. labor law, it is wrong. As Mr. Hashman himself has said, "Politics and morality as to how we live our lives should not be brought into the workplace."
I am aware that Joe Hashman has filed suit against the Orchard Park Garden Center over his dismissal. I urge you to do what is right to make amends with Mr. Hashman, either by rehiring him or reaching some sort of equitable settlement.
A person's moral convictions should not be an employment liability.