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posted 10 Mar 2014, 19:32 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 11 Mar 2014, 10:54 ]
A worker employed as a teacher in a school owned and operated by a Christian Church was asked to resign her job after being accused of “infidelity” and being pregnant for a man other than her husband from whom she is separated. 
As compensation the church has offered the worker inferior severance benefits and continuation of National Insurance contributions for maternity benefits. She was also informed that she could reapply for her existing job after one year. 

The church school in a letter admitted that the worker is an excellent teacher but the issue is that the “adulterous affair was a bad testimony to the school and the parents”. 
The worker was instructed by the church school how to word the reasons for the resignation in her letter as “due to circumstances beyond my control” or “as a result of my pregnancy”. 

The worker in turn wrote the school protesting its demand for her to resign and asking that “as a qualified teacher what wrong have I done?” and “how does my personal life affect my job performance”. 

It is ironical that the “adulterous” affair referred to as the reason for asking the worker to resign occurred when the worker was separated from her husband for one year, living apart and the couple are today still separated. 
It seems to us in the National Workers Union that the “bad testimony” of the teacher only applies to the lower ranks of the church and school and not to the pastors and the other hierarchy. 
The National Workers Union has taken a strong and firm decision to take up this unjust treatment of the worker to the highest-level right up to the Industrial Court. We need to put a stop to this unjust and discriminatory practice against this working woman. Who would have thought that we just celebrated International Women’s Day? The question is whether a male teacher or a male leader or pastor in the church would have been asked to resign under the same circumstances. 
This issue is a major Industrial Relations bi-lateral precedent for trade unions and workers to defeat and bury for good. It is critical that in disciplinary practices at the workplace, workers domestic, personal and private business must not be used as a tool of victimization.