Church's application for judicial review not "church versus state" matter
- POSTED: 11 Oct 2013 00:42
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The Singapore National Council of Churches has spoken up on the application for judicial review by Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) on a decision made by the Manpower Ministry regarding a sacked employee.
SINGAPORE: The Singapore National Council of Churches has spoken up on the application for judicial review by Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) on a decision made by the Manpower Ministry regarding a sacked employee.
In a letter to its members dated October 10, the council said this should not be seen as a "church versus state" matter.
Rather, it sees this as one of employer's versus employee's obligations and duties, under the Employment Act and the common law in this area.
Now that the judicial review has been filed, the council said it has confidence that the courts will shed light on the matter and decide what is right in the interpretation and application of the law of the land in such instances.
The letter was signed by the council's president, Bishop Terry Kee.
FCBC filed the application for judicial review on October 2.
Earlier this year, it had been ordered by Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin to compensate a pregnant worker it had sacked for committing adultery.
FCBC is arguing that Mr Tan’s decision was unconstitutional and breaches its right to manage its own religious affairs.
It also said that the ministry did not consider matters that included the implied terms of the employee's contract -- that sexual misconduct constitutes a ground of termination -- and the values of the church in relation to what constitutes staff misconduct.
The Ministry of Manpower’s stand is that employment laws have to be applied equally to all regardless of their religion and that its role is to protect employees' rights in their workplaces.
The National Council of Churches is a body that brings together the major Christian denominations and churches in Singapore.