Singapore church told to pay over adultery firing

  • By SATISH CHENEY Associated Press

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s government has ordered a prominent church to pay compensation to a former employee who was fired for alleged adultery, officials said last week.

The Faith Community Baptist Church has reportedly said it will abide by the order and pay the woman about $5,500 in salary and maternity benefits, but it insisted it was correct to dismiss her.

The woman, who handled administrative responsibilities for the church, filed a complaint to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower after she was fired last September.

The Straits Times newspaper said she had been finalizing her divorce when she was found to be pregnant with the child of another church worker, who has since resigned. She is believed to have refused instructions by church officials to end the relationship if she wanted to keep her job, the newspaper added.

The manpower ministry said in an email that it was “satisfied that she was dismissed without sufficient cause within six months of her delivery date.”

The church, which has more than 10,000 members, had previously refused to pay the woman any maternity benefits. Singaporean labor laws specify legal protection for female workers who face dismissal if they are at least four months pregnant.

Ministry officials met this week with representatives of the church and instructed them to compensate her.

The church’s senior pastor, Lawrence Khong, told The Straits Times that “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 organization.”

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