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Religious Discrimination: Sunday working

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Thanks to Neil Addison of New Bailey Chambers for preparing this case summary

Was an employment tribunal justified in concluding that a belief that Christians should not work on a Sunday was not a 'core' part of Christianity?

No, held the Court of Appeal in Mba v London Borough of Merton.

The Appellant, employed as care assistant in a children's home, was a Christian who believed that it was wrong to work on Sunday. When she was rostered to work on a Sunday, she failed to attend and was disciplined. She resigned alleging religious discrimination.

In its judgment the employment tribunal had held that "the Appellants not a core component of the Christian faith".

Lord Justice Maurice Kay held that what mattered was whether Mrs Mba had a sincere belief which was held by some Christians.  Paradoxically the fact that her belief was a minority one made it easier to accommodate her.

Lord Justices Elias and Vos went further. Under Article 9 of the Convention to the Equality Act it was wrong to consider whether the Appellants belief was shared. What mattered was whether it were sincere.

All Judges, however, agreed that, on the facts, it was proportionate to require the Appellant to work on a Sunday and therefore her appeal was dismissed.