British Airways employee wins landmark legal battle

09:20 15 January 2013

British Airways employee Nadia Eweida. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

British Airways employee Nadia Eweida. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

British Airways employee Nadia Eweida, who claimed she suffered discrimination at work because of her faith, has won a landmark legal battle at the European Court of Human Rights.

The 60-year-old employee claimed she suffered discrimination at work because of her faith.

She took the airline to a tribunal after she was forced out of her job for wearing a cross in breach of company uniform codes.

Her case was rejected in Britain but today European judges found in her favour. They ruled against three more Christians who launched similar action.

Miss Eweida, from Twickenham, was sent home from her job in September 2006 for displaying a small silver cross on a chain around her neck which she wore as a personal expression of her faith.

She took British Airways to a tribunal but a panel rejected her claims and ruled she was not a victim of religious discrimination.

The decision was upheld by The Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court before Miss Eweida took her fight to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

She returned to work in customer services at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 in February 2007, after BA changed its uniform policy on visible items of jewellery.

At the ECHR, Miss Eweida argued BA’s action contravened articles nine and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibit religious discrimination and allow “freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.

Lawyers for the government, which contested the claim, argued her rights were only protected in private.

But judges today ruled there had been a violation of article nine (freedom of religion), by five votes to two.

They rejected the case of nurse Shirley Chaplin, 57, who was switched to a desk job after she also refused to remove a crucifix which she wore with her uniform.

Marriage counsellor Gary McFarlane, 51, who was sacked for saying he might object to offering sex therapy to homosexuals, and Islington registrar Lillian Ladele, who was disciplined when she refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies, also lost their legal action.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
2 3 4 5 6

Latest Crime news

Sunday, November 29, 2015
Police want to talk to this man over an attempted arson at Finsbury Park Mosque

Police are hunting a moped rider suspected of trying to set Finsbury Park Mosque on fire in what is being treated as a “hate crime”.

Sunday, November 29, 2015
Police are appealing for information following the death of a 21-year-old

A murder probe is underway after the body of a young man was found on the foreshore of the East India Dock Road in Docklands, east London.

Friday, November 27, 2015
The youth attacked the women in Parliament Hill

A 16-year-old who bit a woman’s groin on Hampstead Heath, hit a man with a claw hammer and carried out violent and sexual assaults will serve just one year in jail.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Do you recognise this man? (Picture: British Transport Police)

A large gang of young men surrounded a 17-year-old girl in West Ham Tube station and threw her to the floor in a frightening incident, British Transport Police (BTP) said today.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Police cordoned off the pavement outside the Vodafone store in Finchley Road

The pavement outside a parade of shops on Finchley Road has been cordoned off after knife raiders threatened staff at a branch of Vodafone and made off with thousands of pounds worth of mobile phones.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Police have released images of two men they would like to speak to after a woman was raped in Brixton last year (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

A young woman said she was raped after accepting a lift on leaving a Brixton club last year and today police have released images of men they would like to speak to about the attack.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Read more

You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Read more

Latest Tech News