Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Woman loses right to wear cross:Court decides in favor of British Airways in discrimination suit
A Christian British Airways employee who sued the company after it required her to cover up a cross necklace while on the job has lost her discrimination suit, but she vows to return to work tomorrow wearing the cross.As WND reported, Heathrow check-in worker Nadia Eweida, who is a Coptic Christian and whose father is Egyptian and mother English, was sent home after refusing to remove the cross, which British Airways claimed violated its dress code.Eweida, who was placed on unpaid leave, sued her employer, charging religious discrimination, since the company allowed employees of other religions, such as Islam and Hinduism, to wear faith-related items, including clothing, jewelry and religious markings.The suit continued despite the airline loosening its cross prohibition last year. An attorney affiliated with the Alliance Defense Fund represented Eweida in court."Christian employees should not be singled out for discrimination. This decision will be appealed," said ADF Chief Counsel Benjamin Bull, in a statement. "According to British Airways, it's OK for employees to wear a symbol of their faith unless it's a Christian cross. The airline took no action against employees of other religions who wore jewelry or symbols of their religion. That type of intolerance is inconsistent with the values of civilized communities around the world." The 56-year-old Eweida is quoted by BBC as saying: "I'm very disappointed. I'm speechless really because I went to the tribunal to seek justice. But the judge has given way for BA to have a victory on imposing their will on all their staff."Eweida lost her initial suit against the company but won an injunction on appeal in the Reading Employment Tribunal. However, in yesterday's ruling in the case, Eweida v. British Airways, the court ruled the airline can continue to prohibit Eweida from visibly wearing her cross. The court concluded that other types of religious symbols, such as turbans, bangles and other religious markings, are unable to be concealed and are therefore acceptable."No Christian should be forced to hide her faith in the workplace, particularly when a double-standard exists targeting only Christians for discriminatory treatment," said Bull. "This case should be of particular interest to the American customers of British Airways who understand and value religious liberty."In a statement, British Airways said: "We have always maintained that our uniform policy did not discriminate against Christians, and we are pleased that the tribunal's decision supports our position."Our current policy allows symbols of faith to be worn openly and has been developed with multi-faith groups and our staff."Nadia Eweida has worked for us for eight years and continues to be a valued member of our staff."Regarding appealing the case, Eweida commented, "It's not over until God says it's over."
As in the days of Noah....