Monday, June 08, 2015

British Employment Tribunal Vindicates Christian Woman Fired For Comments About Homosexuality

In Mbuyi v. Newpark Childcare (Shepherds Bush) Ltd., (Empl. Trib., June 4, 2015), a British Employment Tribunal in Watford held that Sarah Mbuyi, a 31-year old nursery assistant who was a Belgian national and and evangelical Christian, was the victim of religious discrimination when she was fired because of a conversation she had with a lesbian co-worker who was in a civil partnership. In the course of the conversation, Mbuyi told her co-worker that she believes homosexuality is a sin.  The conversation upset the co-worker sufficiently that she asked to be transferred to a different room where she would not be working with Mbuyi. The Tribunal concluded that under the circumstances the firing of Mbuyi was a disproportionate response.  The Tribunal said in part:
The respondent was not anti-Christian.... The issues in this case arose out of the claimant's belief that homosexuality is a sin.... It is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society, is not incompatible with human dignity and is not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others.  Whilst some may dispute those propositions, we are considering here the belief itself.  When, whether and how such belief maybe manifested, however, is one of the issues in this case, given the inherent interplay with the right not to be discriminated against because of sexual orientation.
The decision has been widely reported in the British media. (The Guardian, MirrorChristian Concern, Christianity Today, National Secular Society).