Singapore

Church withdraws court application

Church backs down over sacking of pregnant employee

A church that took the Manpower Ministry to court over the sacking of a pregnant employee has backed down.

The Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) is dropping a High Court legal review of the ministry's decision in the matter.

It now accepts the Manpower Minister's decision, FCBC said yesterday.

In 2013, FCBC fired the female church worker because of her alleged adulterous relationship with a married colleague.

The church did not give the woman, who was then in her late 30s, the salary and maternity benefits she was entitled to under the Employment Act.

The woman complained to the ministry and then Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin ordered FCBC to compensate her about $7,000.

The church paid up but took the case to the High Court to have Mr Tan's decision reviewed.

Now, FCBC has decided to withdraw its court application, The Straits Times reported.

It said that while it initiated the High Court legal review to clarify "the boundaries under which a religious body such as FCBC is able to conduct its internal affairs in managing the organisation, subject to the applicable laws of the land", it has since "come to understand and recognise the rationale/basis for the Minister's decision based on the specific facts of this case".

It added: "As a responsible religious body/corporate citizen of this nation, FCBC accepts the Minister's decision."

The 10,000-strong FCBC, headed by pastor Lawrence Khong, is one of Singapore's largest independent churches.

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