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Sainsbury’s Faces Accusations of Dismissing Churchgoer Over Sunday Shifts

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is under scrutiny after being accused of terminating an employee’s contract because she refused to take on additional Sunday morning shifts, citing her desire to attend church. 

Jacqueline Rendell, a resident of Herne Bay, found herself in this challenging situation in 2021 when she was informed about a new employment contract.

In a report shared by Kent Online, Mrs. Rendell was notified about the necessity of transitioning to a new contract. This transition meant that her existing contract would come to an end. The new contract presented a significant challenge for her, as it required her to work every Sunday, in contrast to her previous schedule of working once every fortnight.

Faced with this situation, Mrs. Rendell attempted to negotiate with Sainsbury’s to find a solution that would accommodate her religious commitment while meeting her work responsibilities. She proposed a job share arrangement that would allow her to avoid Sunday shifts, ensuring she could continue attending church services. However, her proposal was reportedly rejected by the supermarket chain.

Despite her best efforts to resolve the issue amicably, the dispute ultimately escalated. Mrs. Rendell pursued mediation as a means to address the conflict between her religious observance and work obligations. Nevertheless, these efforts were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution, leading the case to be brought before an employment tribunal.

The employment tribunal took place last month, with both parties presenting their arguments and evidence. At this point, a reserved judgment was delivered, and the final verdict is anticipated to be announced in December. This verdict will determine the outcome of Mrs. Rendell’s case and whether her dismissal was wrongful due to her refusal to work on Sundays.

In light of these allegations, Premier, a news outlet, has reached out to Sainsbury’s for their response to the accusations. As of now, the supermarket chain has not provided a public statement or response regarding the situation. It is expected that Sainsbury’s will address the allegations and present their perspective as the case unfolds.

The case of Jacqueline Rendell shows the delicate balance between an individual’s religious beliefs and their employment responsibilities. Mrs. Rendell’s desire to maintain her commitment to attending church services clashed with the new work schedule imposed by her employer, ultimately leading to the dispute that has now reached an employment tribunal. 

The outcome of this case may set a precedent and influence how employers handle similar situations in the future.


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