Tribunal: ‘Bible-based homophobia is OK’
An employment tribunal in the UK has ruled in favour of Sarah Mbuyi, 31, above, a ‘born-again’ Christian nursery worker who was sacked after airing her views on homosexuality and marriage to a lesbian colleague.
Mbuyi’s case was heard by a tribunal in Watford, which – according to this report – found that her attitude towards gays was:
Worthy of respect in a democratic society, is not incompatible with human dignity and is not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others.
It further ruled that Newpark Childcare’s policy of prohibiting employees from “expressing adverse views on homosexuality and/or describing homosexuality as a sin” would have a “disparate impact on Christians holding similar views to Miss Mbuyi on the biblical teachings on practising homosexuality.”
That is not merely because a significantly higher proportion of Christians would hold such views but also because many evangelical Christians feel their faith compels them to share it.
The tribunal recognised that while the employer was “not anti-Christian”, Mbuyi had not been treated fairly and that the decision to sack her may have been made on:
Stereotypical assumptions about her and her beliefs.
The tribunal found that Mbuyi’s colleague had clearly brought up her sexuality in conversation with Mbuyi first, and there was little or no evidence to suggest Mbuyi targeted the woman in an attempt to force her faith on her.
This case was a rare win for the Christian Legal Centre, which had supported Mbuyi. Andrea Minichiello Williams, above, barrister and Chief Executive of the CLC, said:
This is a brave judgment and comes as a great relief to Miss Mbuyi and to all of us at the Christian Legal Centre.
This is a ‘common sense’ judgment which shows understanding of the Christian faith and Miss Mbuyi’s freedom to live and speak it out in the work place.
We have been in the employment courts for over a decade now and at last we have a sensible decision.
Mbuyi is now working as a nanny elsewhere. She spoke of her relief at the outcome, saying:
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.
Tiffany Clutterbuck, a director of Newpark Childcare, was disappointed by the ruling, saying:
We have robust policies and rules to ensure our nursery is inclusive and supportive for our children and staff and we took the decision to dismiss Miss Mbuyi with a view to protecting that culture.
However, the tribunal found Miss Mbuyi’s actions were not harassment of a gay colleague and that she was entitled to express her religious beliefs in the workplace in the context of the conversation which took place. Our priority will always be to provide an environment where every child feels like he or she belongs.
Hat tip: AgentCormac