Nursery worker who called lesbian colleague ‘sinful’ wins discrimination tribunal

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A nursery worker who was sacked after allegedly telling a lesbian colleague that her homosexuality was “sinful” has won a discrimination case.

Sarah Mbuyi was fired from a London chain of nurseries, Newpark Childcare, over claims of “harassment” of the colleague and “gross misconduct”.

However, she has this week won an employment tribunal decision against the decision – after it ruled that Mbuyi was discriminated against on the basis of her religious beliefs.

The tribunal had heard that Ms Mbuyi had given her colleague a “gift” of a Bible, and during a discussion with the co-worker about sexuality, had told her: “If I tell you that God is OK with that I am lying to you”.

However Ms Mbuyi denied allegations that she had described homosexuality as “sinful” – and challenged the decision to let her go.

The tribunal ruled unanimously in her Ms Mbuyi’s favour, saying: “The decision to sack her may have been based on ‘stereotypical assumptions’ about her and her beliefs and had not been proportionate.”

Concerningly, the tribunal also said that a policy prohibiting employees from expressing “adverse” views on homosexuality would have a “disparate impact on Christians holding similar views… on biblical teachings on practising homosexuality”.

Tiffany Clutterbuck of Newpark Childcare told the Sunday Times: “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.”

Andrea Williams, of anti-LGBT lobby group Christian Institute, said: “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 workplace.

“We have been in the employment courts for over a decade now and at last we have a sensible decision.”