A devout Christian woman is taking her case to have her religious beliefs considered by her employer to the Court of Appeal this week, reports The Independent.
Celestina Mba resigned her job as a children’s care worker in 2010 after being asked by her employer to work Sundays, despite her requesting to be allowed Sundays off for religious reasons.
Mrs Mba believed that she had received a promise from her employer, Merton Borough Council, when she began working for them in 2007 not to have to work Sundays, despite her employment contract stating that she could be asked to work on any day of the week in accordance with the rota.
For two years Mrs Mba was able to avoid working Sundays, but in 2009 the council decided to alter the rota, requiring her to begin to work two Sundays in every three.
Mrs Mba protested and in the end refused to work her Sunday shifts, resulting in disciplinary action and ultimately her resignation in 2010.
Although her case failed at Employment Appeals Tribunal, this week she will head to the Court of Appeal to fight her case that her religious beliefs deserve to have been reasonably accommodated by her employer.
Shop workers are permitted to request Sundays off, but in other jobs people can be required to work a Sunday if there is a genuine business requirement to do so.
Many are seeing this case as a test, which could see members of other faiths bringing cases to have their religious beliefs respected in the workplace.
“We have so many different faiths in this society. I am standing up for my beliefs, not for anybody else’s. I am not imposing them on anybody else,” Mrs Mba told The Sunday Times.
Her lawyers are expected to cite a recent case involving a British Airways employee who won her right to wear a crucifix at work as it was deemed a legitimate part of the individual’s religious belief.
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