When secular laws & religions views conflate - FCBC case.

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When secular laws & religions views conflate - FCBC case.

Postby chenwj » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:05 am

So a female staff of Church was dismissed for morally inappropriate behaviour. She was already in her 3rd trimester at that point in time. Dismissed staff lodge a complaint with Manpower Ministry and the Church was ordered to pay compensation. Church complied with some hesitation.

Do staff of religious organisations view their role as a job, or a role to serve? Does Manpower Ministry has the right to bend the will of a moral decision? So if religious organisations do not want to get bent under secular laws, they have to get volunteers to do their work for them?

This is not an easy discussion to start. I'm sorry if I have offended anyone. :spank: Moderators, please remove this discussion if u think it is inappropriate. Thanks.

:pokeeye:

http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-ne ... d-20130820

One of Singapore's biggest independent churches has been ordered by the Government to compensate a female church worker fired because of her alleged adulterous relationship.

The female employee at Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) had gone to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) after she was sacked last September when the church found out she was pregnant with the child of another church employee.

The ministry said that it looked into the complaint and found that the woman was "dismissed without sufficient cause within six months of her delivery date".

The church did not give her the salary and maternity benefits she was entitled to under the Employment Act.

The Act 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.

In this case, Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin directed the church to pay her about $7,000, including maternity benefits.

The woman was understood to have been about seven months pregnant when she was sacked.

The church refused to do so, claiming that its employees and members were expected to adhere to certain moral standards.

The impasse dragged on for nearly a year before the church finally relented after a discussion with MOM yesterday.

The 10,000-strong church's senior pastor, Mr Lawrence Khong, told The Straits Times that the woman's pregnancy was discovered last April.

"When we asked her, she admitted to having an affair with another colleague even before her divorce proceedings were final," said Mr Khong.

The woman, in her late 30s, handled administrative and coordination work for the church, while the man was a divorcee in his 50s. He was a colleague in the same department but has since resigned.

She could not be reached.

Mr Khong said the church was willing to let the woman, a church member, keep her baby and job.

But she had to apologise for her actions, attend counselling and end the relationship.

The woman attended some counselling sessions, but continued to see the man, the church said.

The pastor acknowledged that the woman's employment contract did not explicitly state that adultery was just cause for sacking. But he added that it is "something that all employees know".

Under the law, the minister can order an employer to pay maternity benefits and employers who refuse can be fined up to $10,000 and jailed up to one year.

Mr Khong told The Straits Times last night that the church will compensate the woman on MOM's orders, but it will be making it clear to the ministry that it will not concede that the dismissal was unjust.

"We are a church. If we concede that the dismissal was unjust, it means we are condoning adultery and it will weaken our moral and spiritual authority in the organisation," he said.

tohyc@sph.com.sg



Background story

FCBC senior pastor Lawrence Khong (above) on...

THE PREGNANT EMPLOYEE

When we asked her, she admitted to having an affair with another colleague even before her divorce proceedings were final.

THE DISMISSAL

We are a church. If we concede that the dismissal was unjust, it means we are condoning adultery and it will weaken our moral and spiritual authority in the organisation.

chenwj
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Re: When secular laws & religions views conflate - FCBC case

Postby pirate » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:15 am

So on that reasoning, I guess ESM is also ok for senior civil servants and public officials. I think a certain former head of the CNB will be happy to hear this. :siam:

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Re: When secular laws & religions views conflate - FCBC case

Postby winchester » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:28 am

they have right to terminate her as it is a contract between employer and employee as she did not perform up to church "standards", but not that way. should have given her notice, and certainly not sacked her within 6 months of edd. legally wrong morally wrong. not saying that those involved in the affair are free of blame tho.

isn't a church about compassion and forgiveness? fcbc, or at least those involved in the sacking, is giving christianity a bad name.

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Re: When secular laws & religions views conflate - FCBC case

Postby Nebbermind » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:30 am

If OK, the MP need not leave post liao.

However, the church is still required to pay her whatever that is due according to MOM's regulation.
Last edited by Nebbermind on Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: When secular laws & religions views conflate - FCBC case

Postby 3Boys » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:14 pm

winchester wrote:they have right to terminate her as it is a contract between employer and employee as she did not perform up to church "standards", but not that way. should have given her notice, and certainly not sacked her within 6 months of edd. legally wrong morally wrong. not saying that those involved in the affair are free of blame tho.

isn't a church about compassion and forgiveness? fcbc, or at least those involved in the sacking, is giving christianity a bad name.


She chose not to repent, and continued with her activity. The church can forgive, but only if the individual seeks forgiveness. It was a direct challenge to church authority, and she needed to go, immediately. Nothing legally or morally wrong about it.

The tricky part is where the secular and religious realms collide, in employment policy. I do think MOM is sympathetic to FCBC, but they need to play an even hand and apply secular criteria. Adultery is not a sackable offence, in the general sense.

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Re: When secular laws & religions views conflate - FCBC case

Postby 3Boys » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:16 pm

By the way, chenwj, the word should be 'conflict', not 'conflate', in your title.

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Re: When secular laws & religions views conflate - FCBC case

Postby slmkhoo » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:49 pm

In this case, I guess what churches need to do now is check their employment contracts and make sure there is a clause that allows termination for "conduct unbecoming".

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Re: When secular laws & religions views conflate - FCBC case

Postby tankee » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:20 pm

The key is

The Act protects an expectant mother from her fourth month of pregnancy.

If she is sacked [b]without sufficient cause[\b] during this period, her employer must pay her maternity benefits.

And the expected "moral standard" is not mentioned in her employment contract.

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Re: When secular laws & religions views conflate - FCBC case

Postby atrecord » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:59 pm

The church might want to amend its employment contract to make it explicitly clear that there is a strict code of conduct to adhere to, as a condition of employment. But if the law states that pregnant women's rights are to be protected, then maybe even if fired must still also compensate the woman.

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Re: When secular laws & religions views conflate - FCBC case

Postby Moral_principles » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:27 pm

Religion and secular laws aside first. Let's find out if unwed, single mum is entitled to maternity benefits? If yes, then the Government is encouraging childbirth out of wedlock!

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