Karen Holland, a 45-year-old Wicca pagan was fired by her Sikh bosses after taking a leave from work on Halloween, to attend a traditional ceremony. Even if the employer insisted on firing the woman for stealing, she took them to court and accused them of religious discrimination.Before finding out she was a Wicca-practicing pagan, her bosses didn't show any signs of wanting to terminate her contract, just after acknowledging her religious preferences the men accused her of stealing and fired her. The event happened just after Halloween, when Mrs. Holland attended a traditional pagan ceremony celebrating the dead.
The Pagan festival celebrated at the end of October is called the Feast of the Dead and involves cooking meals for the deceased, who on this particular night reawaken to visit their old homes. Different traditional dishes are made, and incenses made of wood and herbs are burned to honor the dead.
After finding out about their employees' beliefs, the two men started making ridiculous claims and jokes asking if “modern day witches could fly on broom sticks,” the woman claims, according to Daily Mail. Her unexpected termination, lead the woman to take the case to court and accuse the patrons of unfair dismissal, gender and religious discrimination.
The court ruled in her favor claiming the woman's contract was “indefensible dismissed” and her bosses breached “the basics of natural justice,” notes Daily Mail. The tribunal ruled that she must receive almost $24,500 (€17,770) compensation for the charges brought against her.
The two bosses are now appealing against the court's ruling claiming the reason of the termination was not her choice of beliefs, but the fact that she stole from the work place. They even stated that they don't have any interest in their employees' religions even if Mrs. Holland confessed to being the subject of jokes and stereotypical remarks in her last days at work.
Her beliefs have always drawn Karen Holland to a more spiritual way of living, “it's not like looking into being a Muslim or being a Catholic. It's not like going to church on a Sunday. It's a draw. It's a pull. It's a way of life. A total way of life,” the woman says, according to Daily Mail.
The Wicca religion is a modern tradition that has its origins in customs, folklore, magic and folk witchcraft, venerating nature and teaching about reincarnation. The unusual rituals and the so-called book of spells lead to the common view of Wicca believers as modern-day witches.
[Update, December 15, 2013]: The article erroneously referred to the Wicca religion as a "pre-Christian tradition." It has been updated to read "modern" instead. Thank you to all our readers who pointed out the oversight in the comments section.