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Stedman v United Kingdom , (1997) 23 E.H.R.R. CD 168

Facts: the applicant, Mrs. Stedman, was denied the right to rest on Sunday by her employer, in accordance with her religious belief (Christianity).

Complaint: the applicant claimed there had been a violation of article 9 of the European Convention (freedom of religion)

Holding: the Commission ruled the complaint inadmissible on the grounds that no interference with the relevant right had occurred, the employees having voluntarily "contracted-out" of protection by undertaking the employment in question.

Reasoning: a woman fired for refusing, on religious grounds, to agree to have her contractual terms varied to require Sunday working had been dismissed for "failing to agree to work certain hours rather than her religious belief as such and was free to resign and did in effect resign from her employment". The Court held that she was not dismissed because of her religious beliefs, but because she refused to work contractual hours. It did not consider at any length the point that her refusal to work contractual hours was because of her religious beliefs.

 

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