Byline: GRAHAM GRANT
CATHOLIC education bosses in Scotland will this month face a bitter battle which could determine the future of denominational schools.
David McNab, a Protestant teacher at a Catholic school, is taking council chiefs to an employment tribunal in a landmark legal challenge - claiming his career has been blighted by sectarian bigotry.
Mr McNab, 53, says he has been refused promotion because he is not Catholic, and is fighting the case using new laws banning religious discrimination.
If successful at the tribunal in Glasgow later this month, his claim could cause huge problems for the future of Catholic education.
Until now, Catholic schools have been legally allowed to offer some senior posts to Catholics only, in a bid to protect the school's identity.
But Mr McNab's lawyers say new laws contained in the Employment Equality ( Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 mean the practice is illegal because it discriminates on the grounds of religious belief.
Catholic Church officials are now in urgent talks with the Scottish Executive over the impact of the new legislation - because they fear it makes the accepted tradition of 'restricted posts' illegal.
Teaching union bosses are also believed to be in talks with the Church to discuss implications of any legal challenge.
Mr McNab, a maths teacher at St Paul's RC High School in Pollok, Glasgow, claims he has been refused promotion to a senior teaching post four times in the space of 14 years.
On one occasion, school bosses allegedly made it clear he would not get a promotion because he was not Catholic - but told him to apply anyway 'because they needed more people for the shortlist'.
Mr McNab, a father of one who earns [pounds sterling]29,000 a year, also says less experienced Catholic teachers have been promoted ahead of him, earning an extra [pounds sterling]8,000-[pounds sterling]10,000 in the process.
He said: 'I am deemed good enough to work in a Catholic school but not get promoted.
It is like taking a step back into the dark ages. All I want is equality in the workplace and to be treated in the same way as my peers. …