SINGAPORE - A church that took the Manpower Ministry (MOM) to the High Court over the sacking of a pregnant female staff has backed down.
The Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) said in a statement on Monday that it is dropping the High Court legal review because it now accepts the Manpower Minister's decision.
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According to previous published reports, the church fired a female church worker in 2013 because of her alleged adulterous relationship with another married church worker.
The female employee then lodged a complaint to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) after she was sacked.
The church did not give her the salary and maternity benefits she was entitled to under the Employment Act, which protects an expectant mother from her fourth month of pregnancy.
If she is sacked without sufficient cause during this period, her employer must pay her maternity benefits.
Here is the statement from FCBC on its website:
Official FCBC Statement on MOM Judicial Review
"Faith Community Baptist Church ("FCBC") had initiated the judicial review process with the prime motivation being that further to the Minister's decision, it was concerned and thus sought clarity moving forward in relation to the boundaries under which a religious body such as FCBC is able to conduct its internal affairs in managing the organization, subject to the applicable laws of the land. .
In the course of ongoing proceedings, FCBC has had the benefit of the Court documents, including the Minister's sworn affidavit, setting out the Minister's position. FCBC has come to understand and recognize the rationale/basis for the Minister's decision based on the specific facts of this case. We accept that every decision of the Minister would depend on the unique facts of each case.
As a responsible religious body/corporate citizen of this nation, FCBC accepts the Minister's decision.
FCBC has clarified that the position of the Ministry of Manpower ("MOM") remains that an organization's terms of employment should be "reasonable" and "should relate to the job and position held, and should not govern the private lives of their employees, unless it relates to the performance of the job". As a religious body, FCBC would take the view that moral conduct can in appropriate circumstances be governed by the terms of employment, where such conduct would affect the moral authority required in the performance of a job.
In light of the above, FCBC has taken steps to discontinue the judicial review process. FCBC remains committed to the well-being of our nation, more so as she celebrates the year of Jubilee."
- Faith Community Baptist Church, 18 May