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
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Crime news

Friday, July 31, 2015
Thornton Way in Hampstead Garden Suburb

Two women were attacked and made hostages in their own home in a terrifying raid on their Hampstead Garden Suburb house.

Friday, July 31, 2015
One of the men can be seen with a shotgun

This is the terrifying moment a masked gang armed with a shotgun and crowbars broke into a house in Gidea Park – after pulling up in a Porsche.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Police want to speak this woman after a child was kicked repeatedly (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

Police are hunting for a woman who was seen hurting a young boy in a shop in Wood Green on Saturday February 28.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Antisemitic crimes have more than doubled in London over the past year (Picture: Getty)

The number of antisemitic hate crimes - including assault, harassment and arson - has more than doubled in London in the space of a year.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Sebastian Szerer, a senior employee at a hotel, raped a man who came for a job interview (Picture: Met Police)

The former head housekeeper has been jailed for ‘luring’ a man, 25, to a fake interview before raping him in the locked suite of a luxury Westminster hotel.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Walkers have been urged to report any suspicious activity in the area (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

People are being warned to be vigilant on Hackney Marshes after three women were stalked and hurt in what police believe were sexually-motivated attacks.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more
Terrific tea, creamy cakes and splendid sandwiches at Mews of Mayfair.

Celebrate a truly quintessentially British tradition with the chance of winning a luxurious Afternoon Tea for two people at Mews of Mayfair, complete with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Read more