A devout Christian who refused to work on a Sunday has lost her discrimination case after a judge ruled it “was not a core component of Christian faith”. Celestina Mba, of Mitcham, had claimed Merton Council unlawfully discriminated against her by asking her to work on Sundays at the Brightwell children's centre in Morden.

But, in giving the ruling at the London South employment Tribunal this morning, Judge Heather Willams QC said Merton Council did not promise Miss Mba would have to work on Sundays and having an entire Sunday off work was not essential.

She said: “While the claimants belief is deeply held it is not a core component of Christian faith.”

Miss Mba said: “I am really sad for Merton Council because they have removed somebody who would have made a difference to the people who use Bright well’s services, the children and the parents.

“I was called the sunshine of Brightwell so they have removed the sunshine that was there.”

The 57-year-old, who left her job as a residential care officer at the home, which provides respite for children with disabilities in June 2010, added: “The activities I do on Sunday including teaching, visiting people in hospitals and prisons is a part of worship. For me Sunday is about worshipping god, empowering and encouraging others. It is not just about going to the service.”

Merton Council's director of children schools and families, Yvette Stanley, said: “We are pleased with the outcome of the tribunal.

"As a local authority, we have a duty to ensure our children with disabilities who need weekend care are supported by carers who are familiar with their specific needs."

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