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Christian children's worker forced to resign over Sunday working

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Issued on behalf of Christian Legal Centre

Press Release

For Immediate Release

19 February 2012

Christian children's worker forced to resign over Sunday working

A 57 year-old children's worker who was forced to resign over her desire not to work on Sundays will appear before an employment tribunal on Monday 20 February.

Celestina Mba worked for over three years at the Brightwell Children's Home in Morden, a respite home for children with disabilities. She was forced to resign in 2010 after her employer chose to no longer accommodate her Christian beliefs.

Ms Mba has been a Christian since a young girl and has never worked on a Sunday. Her beliefs were initially respected by her employer, the London Borough of Merton, who were informed before she started the job that she would have difficulties working on a Sunday. But the Council later changed its mind and she was forced to choose between her job or her faith.

Mba said that she would have worked 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.

Ms Mba is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre and has instructed human rights barrister Paul Diamond to take on the case.

Andrea Williams, Director of the Christian Legal Centre said:

"This is another case where we see intolerance towards the Christian faith and a lack of willingness to make accommodation for it .

"Celestina was a hard working employee who wished to observe Sunday. Her employers knew about this and agreed to it from the outset, yet later changed their minds. They forced her to choose between her job and her work.

"Surely it is possible to devise a rota system that respects and accommodates the Christian belief of employees especially where such a rota had worked successfully in the past. A public body like the London Borough of Merton should set the highest standards and not behave like this. No doubt Merton will spend considerable amounts of public money to resist this Christian lady."


ENDS

Contact: Andrea Williams, Director of Christian Legal Centre: 0771 259 1164

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