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No right to day off on Sunday for Christian faithful, EAT confirms.

11 January 2013 #Employment

Following on from Employmentbuddy’s previous blog the Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that Christians have no right to decline working on a Sunday as it is not a core component of the Christian faith.

Celestina Mba, a Christian children`s worker for Merton Council (South West London), was told that her employer was justified in not accommodating her Christian observance of Sundays.

The decision upholds the employment tribunal`s ruling, which said it was relevant that other Christians did not ask for Sundays off. The fact that some Christians were prepared to work on Sundays meant it was not protected, the Appeal Tribunal agreed.

The EAT said that a rule imposed by an employer which affected nearly every Christian would have a greater discriminatory impact than one which only affected a few. There was evidence that many Christians work on Sundays and this was relevant in "weighing" the impact of the employers` rule, and the earlier decision did not involve an error of law.

Chair of Merton`s children`s trust at Merton Council, Yvette Stanley, said it did its best to allow religious practice but also had a duty to meet the needs of the disabled children for whom it cares. She said: "We are pleased with the outcome of this second tribunal. Staff recruited in the respite care service are advised that it is by its nature a weekend service."

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