Originally published in Truth Revolt
A nursery worker from West London has won an anti-discrimination suit against her former employer after having been fired for expressing her beliefs on homosexuality to a fellow lesbian co-worker.
While working at Newpark Childcare in Shepherd’s Bush, Sarah Mbuyi, 31, had been asked by one of her lesbian colleagues about her faith in Christ, which then turned into a discussion about God’s views towards homosexuality. Mbuyi responded politely to her colleagues questions and imposed none of her views without being asked.
“God doesn’t hate you, he just doesn’t like what you do,” said Mbuyi.
That statement, no matter how charitably she expressed, was enough to get her sacked, citing harassment, which Mbuyi flatly denied since she only expressed her views after being asked.
After taking her case to the Christian Legal Center, a British organization protecting religious liberties, a suit was filed with an employment tribunal in Watford, saying that Mbuyi had been discriminated against for her Christian beliefs, which they ruled in favor of.
According to the tribunal, Mbuyi’s beliefs were “worthy of respect in a democratic society, is not incompatible with human dignity and is not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others” while adding that the employer’s “prohibition on employees 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 practicing 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.”
While the tribunal recognized that Newpark Childcare was “not anti-Christian” – a ruling that Mbuyi concurred with – they did say that their decisions to fire her stemmed from “stereotypical assumptions about her and her beliefs.”
“This is a brave judgment and comes as a great relief to Miss Mbuyi and to all of us at the Christian Legal Centre,” said Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the CLC. “This judgment 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 workplace. We have been in the employment courts for over a decade now and at last we have a sensible decision.”
Though a victory, Williams did say that Mbuyi’s treatment is indicative of the anti-Christian sentiment brewing in Western society, saying she receives complaints of this order every day and Christians continually feel like they have to hide their views in public.
“What we’re finding often [is that] a simple statement of comfort can often be misconstrued, and people find themselves in the situation [Ms Mbuyi] has,” said Williams. “For simply having the view… that certain behaviours are sinful, [people believe] that actually makes us bigoted and hateful. When actually the opposite is true. Sarah was full of love and compassion for her colleague.”
Newpark Childcare expressed disappointment with the ruling.
“We have robust policies and rules in place to ensure our nursery is inclusive and supportive for our children and staff, and we took the decision to dismiss Ms Mbuyi with a view to protecting that culture,” said Tiffany Clutterbuck, director of Newpark Childcare. “We are reviewing the decision of the employment tribunal panel with our legal team before deciding our next steps.”
Mbuyi, now working as a nanny elsewhere, gave thanks to God for the outcome, and hopes that Newpark Childcare and her colleague can understand she meant no harm.
“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,” said Mbuyi. “I hope that my previous employer and colleagues are well and will understand from this that my intention was for their best.”