Faith Community Baptist Church drops High Court review over sacking of pregnant church worker

The Faith Community Baptist Church said in a statement on Monday that it is dropping the High Court legal review because it now accepts the Manpower Minister's decision. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
The Faith Community Baptist Church said in a statement on Monday that it is dropping the High Court legal review because it now accepts the Manpower Minister's decision. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A church that took the Manpower Ministry (MOM) to the High Court over the sacking of a pregnant female staff has backed down.

The Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) said in a statement on Monday that it is dropping the High Court legal review because it now accepts the Manpower Minister's decision.

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

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 MOM and then Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin ordered the church to compensate her about $7,000. The church paid up but subsequently took the case to the High Court to have Mr Tan's decision reviewed.

But on Monday, the church decided to withdraw its court application.

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 (Manpower) Minister's decision based on the specific facts of this case".

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

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

tohyc@sph.com.sg