Christian BA worker plans to take her case to Europe
Fri, 22 Oct 2010
A Christian who was told by her bosses at British Airways to hide a small cross which she wore around her neck is planning to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Nadia Eweida was sent home from work in September 2006 after she refused to cover the symbol of her faith, prompting a furious public backlash against the airline.
Miss Eweida’s appeal to Europe is the latest stage in her long running legal battle with the airline.
Miss Eweida, who was able to return to work in 2007 after BA changed its uniform policy, is hoping that the ECHR will rule that she was the victim of religious discrimination. She is also seeking “just satisfaction” for lost wages.
However, it may be some time before Miss Eweida hears if her case has been accepted.
She said: “I have been given to understand that it will take four to six months before I hear whether my case will be accepted and heard.”
Earlier this year the Court of Appeal upheld a decision by an Employment Appeal Tribunal which found that she was not a victim of religious discrimination.
The decision was greeted with dismay by critics who say Christians are the poor relations of equality law.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, said: “The news that Nadia Eweida’s appeal has failed is a sad blow both to her personally, and the cause of religious liberties and freedoms.”
Earlier this year a group of leading bishops warned that Christian beliefs on marriage, conscience and worship are being ignored by UK laws.
Seven bishops, including Lord Carey, said that the “apparent discrimination” against Christians was deeply concerning and the major political parties need to address the issue.
In the letter to The Sunday Telegraph the group of leading Church of England bishops also expressed concern at the numerous cases of Christians being pushed out of their jobs.
They drew particular attention to Shirley Chaplin, a Christian NHS nurse who was told she could not wear a cross on hospital wards.
The bishops wrote: “This is yet another case in which the religious rights of the Christian community are being treated with disrespect.”
They continued: “We are deeply concerned at the apparent discrimination shown against Christians and we call on the Government to remedy this serious development.
“In a number of cases, Christian beliefs on marriage, conscience and worship are simply not being upheld.
“There have been numerous dismissals of practising Christians from employment for reasons that are unacceptable in a civilised country.”