Taking Sunday as a day of rest is not a ‘core component’ of Christianity – a tribunal has ruled.
The ruling comes after care worker Celestina Mba, 57, made a complaint of constructive dismissal on the grounds of religious discrimination against her employer, for requiring her to work on Sundays.
Miss Mba, a member of the ministry team at her Baptist church, is now considering an appeal after her claim against Merton Council in south London was rejected.
The tribunal heard that the mother of three had a contractual obligation to work on Sundays, and although she claimed her manager had promised he would ‘work around’ the requirement for her to have Sundays off, the Judge ruled that she had not made her position sufficiently clear..
Judge Heather Williams said: ‘There was no express agreement ever arrived at between the parties that she would not have to work Sundays. On the contrary, she was contractually obliged to work Sundays.’
Miss Mba had worked for the council as a carer for disabled children, since 2007, and at the beginning of her employment she had been allowed to take Sundays off.
But in 2008 she was told this would have to end, and she entered into a dispute with her bosses, arguing that her religious views required her to take Sunday as a sabbath.
But yesterday a tribunal ruled that keeping Sunday as a day of rest was not a ‘core component’ of Christianity.
The tribunal heard a statement from Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester, who wrote: “Some Christians will not work on the Sabbath (except for mercies), others may work only in an emergency; some Christians will want to wear a cross to manifest their faith, others will manifest their faith in some other way.”
And the fact that different Christians approach the issue of sabbath from a variety of perspectives, led the Judge to conclude that not working on Sunday is ‘not a core component to the Christian faith’.
The tribunal also found no evidence that Muslim colleagues were given favourable treatment over Christians with regard to religious observance.
February 24th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross