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Coptic Christian wins discrimination claim at European Court of Human Rights


Lawson-West Solicitors - Expert Author

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The European Court of Human Rights has ruled recently that an employee of British Airways who was forced out of her job for wearing a cross had her religious rights violated.

Nadia Eweida's case was upheld by judges in Strasbourg in a landmark ruling, stating that her decision to express her faith in this way warranted protection under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Miss Eweida, a 60-year-old Coptic Christian from Twickenham, was sent home from work for wearing a small silver crucifix while working as an airport check-in attendant for the airline. As a result, the ECHR has ruled that she was discriminated against under freedom of religion laws. The ruling stated her cross was "discreet and cannot have detracted from her professional appearance".

However, they rejected similar claims made by three other Christians, including one from a nurse who was moved to a desk job after she refused to take off a crucifix which hung round her neck. Her claims were rejected on the grounds that the removal of her necklace was necessary to protect the health and safety of nurses and patients.

Another two cases were also dismissed – those of marriage counsellor Gary McFarlane, 51, and registrar Lillian Ladele, 52, who objected to some parts of their jobs which they felt conflicted with their beliefs.

Miss Eweida was awarded £1,600 in damages and £25,000 to cover costs.

About the Author

Lawson-West specialise in commercial, business and employment law. Our team of dedicated commercial solicitors can help with buying or selling a business, business law and disputes, landlord and tenant issues and commercial property. Our expert employment team can offer practical advice and guidance on all aspects of employment law including redundancy, compromise agreements and dismissal procedures. Visit for more information.

If you’ve been discriminated against on the grounds of your religion or belief please contact employment law specialists Lawson-West on 0116 212 1000.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-02-14 11:40:58 in Legal Articles

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