Friday, January 11, 2013

British Appellate Tribunal Upholds Requirement That Christian Care Worker Must Work On Sundays

In Mba v. Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Merton, (EAT, Dec. 13, 2012), Britain's Employment Appeal Tribunal rejected a religious discrimination claim by a care worker at a children's home who was required to work on Sundays in violation of her Christian religious beliefs.  It upheld a decision of an Employment Tribunal in the case that "the employer’s aim in seeking to ensure that all full-time staff worked on Sundays in rotation was legitimate, and was objectively justified, so that she could lawfully be required to do so."   One ground of appeal was that the Tribunal had improperly considered whether not working on Sunday was a "core" Christian belief.  The Appeal Tribunal said that "by using the expression 'core' the Tribunal intended to reflect the evidence put before it from an Anglican bishop that only some Christians felt obliged to abstain from Sunday work – it was thus permissibly commenting on the degree to which Christians numerically would be affected, and not attempting to tell them what was important in their faith." The Guardian yesterday reporting on the opinion complains about the delay by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in posting decisions on its website.