Christian care worker has legal appeal refused as court rules in favour of Merton Council


Celestina Mba argued she should not have to work on Sundays.


By SWLondoner staff

A Merton care worker who claimed she was forced to leave her job after refusing to work on Sundays has lost her legal appeal.

Celestina Mba, a Baptist Christian, lost her job as a children’s care worker with Merton Council, after being told she might have to work Sunday shifts.

Ms Mba argued she should be free to obey the Fourth Commandment in the Bible – to rest and pray on the Sabbath.

She had previously lost a case for constructive dismissal against Merton Council, consequently taking her case to the Court of Appeal.

The appeal judges, Lord Justice Maurice Kay, Lord Justice Elias and Lord Justice Vos, ruled the tribunal had to some extent erred in law but said this did not mean that Ms Mba’s appeal should be allowed.

“Merton disrespected my Christian faith,” she told the BBC.

“I said to the court that the council would not treat other faiths like they treat Christians.”

Ms Mba worked with children with severe learning difficulties at Brightwell Respite Care House in Morden for three years.

Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, said he was pleased with the outcome of the case.

“Children in local authority care who have severe disabilities and who need weekend support, and their families who rely on this support, can feel reassured that their children’s care and support will be consistent,” he said.

It is vital that these children are looked after by carers who are familiar with their needs and are available to provide round the clock care over the weekend.

“Wherever possible, we accommodate our employees’ needs and requirements. Councils like Merton provide many services during the week and at weekends, and we work to rotas to ensure we have suitable staff on duty at all times and that the rotas are fair and lawful for employees.”

Photo courtesy of Ian Britton, with thanks.

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