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Tribunal appeal

April 2012

Tribunal appeal

A London-based children’s worker who was forced out of her job because she would not work on the Lord’s Day has lost her employment tribunal appeal.
    Celestina Mba, 57, had worked for more than three years at the Brightwell Children’s Home, a respite home for children with disabilities, in the London borough of Morden.
    However, she was forced to resign in 2010 after her employer tried to force her to change her hours and work on a Sunday, despite knowing from the outset that Ms Mba is a Christian and has never worked on Sunday.
     According to Ms Mba, she told her employers that she would be willing to work nights and Saturdays — unpopular shifts, as people want to be with their families or go out — or would have accepted less pay, but, despite her offers, no compromise was accepted and she claimed she was forced to choose between her faith and her job.
    However, despite being supported by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which instructed human rights barrister Paul Diamond to take on the case, an employment tribunal upheld the council’s decision. It ruled that Ms Mba was not constructively dismissed.
    She said, ‘It is impossible to speak with me and not know of my commitment to Jesus and that I will not work on the Sabbath, yet the tribunal found that my employers were not aware of this fact. I am amazed by this decision’.
    Andrea Williams, of the CLC, said, ‘We will consider appealing. Ms Mba was let down by her employers, who failed to continue to accommodate her beliefs. Pressure from employers against Christians expressing their faith is an increasingly regular hallmark of what Baroness Warsi has described as our “deeply intolerant culture”’.

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