Christian BA employee Nadia Eweida wins religious discrimination case

By Gerald Heneghan

British Airways (BA) employee Nadia Eweida was discriminated against due to her Christian beliefs, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled.

The 60-year-old took the case to the body after she was forced out of her job for breaching uniform codes in regard to visibly displaying a cross while at work in 2006.

She had previously taken BA to a British tribunal over the issue, however, the panel ruled in favour of the airline – stating she had not been subject to discrimination over her religious beliefs.

European judges today (January 15th) made the landmark ruling that Ms Eweida’s rights had been infringed under Articles 9 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“The domestic authorities failed sufficiently to protect the first applicant’s right to manifest her religion,” the ECHR said in its judgement.

Three other cases of alleged religious discrimination were also adjudicated on, but did not meet with similar success.

Judges rejected the claims of 57-year-old nurse Shirley Chaplin, who was forced to stop wearing necklaces with a cross attached; and Gary McFarlane, a 51-year-old marriage counsellor, who was sacked after expressing reluctance to advise same-sex couples.

Lillian Ladele, a registrar who faced disciplinary action after refusing to carry out civil partnership ceremonies between same-sex couples, also had her case dismissed.

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