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Devout Christian ‘shocked’ after losing case against council

SHOCKED: Celestina Mba

A DEVOUT Christian, who claims she was forced from her job after refusing to work on Sundays, has lost her case against Merton Council.

Celestina Mba, a care worker at Brightwell’s Children’s Home in Morden, south London, said she was threatened with disciplinary action after telling her employer church duties were her priority, an employment tribunal heard.

The 57-year-old, who subsequently resigned in 2010, claimed that her managers granted a Muslim colleague time off to visit the mosque on Fridays.

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 day, yet the Tribunal found that my employers were not aware of this fact. They also held that repeated instructions by Merton Council to work on Sundays in violation of my faith was not a violation of my rights.”

Ms Mba gave evidence that she would have worked nights and Saturdays, both unpopular shifts as people want to be with their families or go out, or she would have accepted less pay. Yet despite her offers, no compromise was accepted, and she was forced to resign.

However, it was ruled today that Miss Mba was not constructively dismissed from her job.

“I am amazed by this decision. I thought that this country was a Christian country and known for its welcome and hospitality to all people. I worked hard for years at my job, and to lose it because of intolerance towards my faith is shocking to me,” she said after the ruling.

Andrea Williams, Director of the Christian Legal Centre which is fought Miss Mba’s claim, said:

“We are extremely disappointed by this decision and we will consider appealing.

“Celestina was let down by her employers, who failed to continue to accommodate her beliefs.

“She was an employee who wished to observe Sunday. Her employers forced her to choose between her job and her faith. This was unacceptable, and we are disappointed that the Judge did not agree with her,” he said.

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