A Christian woman who was shown the door by her employer has had Watford Employment Tribunal rule in her favor.
Sarah Mbuyi, a 30-year-old childcare worker, had filed a complaint against her employer, Newpark Childcare in Highbury, U.K., with the Watford Employment Tribunal citing religious discrimination and unfair termination. She was fired on grounds of “gross misconduct” for expressing traditional Christian beliefs.
In 2013, Mbuyi had a discussion with a lesbian co-worker who learned that she was a Christian. From then on, she was frequently questioned about her beliefs for a span of several months.
But it was a remark that her lesbian co-worker made during a discussion in January 2014 that was to land Mbuyi in trouble. Her lesbian co-worker said she wasn’t happy because the Church’s beliefs wouldn’t permit her to “marry” her partner. According to her, she didn’t think that God was against homos*xual behavior.
When Mbuyi gave her opinion on the matter, her lesbian co-worker found her explanation of the Biblical position on the matter offensive. She became emotional and proceeded to report Mbuyi to her manager.
She had said to the gay employee, “‘No, God does not condone the practice of homos*xuality, but does love you and says you should come to Him as you are.’’
Mbuyi’s co-worker confronted her with accusations during the disciplinary hearing she was asked to attend, some of which were false. For instance, she claimed that it was actually Mbuyi, and not herself, who had introduced the discussions on Christianity.
Mbuyi wasn’t prepared for the disciplinary hearing, since she wasn’t even given prior notice. She said that her disciplinary hearing was “hopelessly” prejudiced, since her accuser’s claims were piled on her as facts.
“It seemed to me they had already made up their minds to justify sacking me, before hearing my side of the story,” she said in a statement she released.
Mbuyi, who insists the she did nothing wrong, was full of praise for the court decision and the Christian Legal Centre, the legal organization that assisted her in court.
She said, “I only ever responded to questions that my colleague asked me and wanted the very best for her. I give glory to God for the decision and say ‘well done’ to the Christian Legal Centre.” She added, “I hope that my previous employer and colleagues are well and will understand from this that my intention was for their best.”
In its ruling, the tribunal stated that Mbuyi was unlawfully fired for merely responding to her co-worker’s statements by expressing her beliefs. It stated that although Newpark Childcare didn’t seem to be anti-Christian, it had made a “stereotypical assumption about evangelical Christians” and “pre-judged the outcome [by] accepting unchallenged evidence that supported the stereotypical assumption and/or interpreted Miss Mbuyi’s evidence in an almost impossible way.”
However, the ruling didn’t go down well with Newpark Childcare, and it has released a defiant statement defending its action against Mbuyi. In its statement, it remarked that it was necessary to protect the “culture” of being inclusive of all types of persons.