British Airways clerk claims religious discrimination
A devout Christian went to London’s High Court on Tuesday in a bid to force British Airways to admit it was wrong in demanding she stop wearing a crucifix at work.
Airport check-in clerk Nadia Eweida became the center of a national debate over religious symbols in public life when she was sent home in November 2006 for refusing to comply with rules banning employees from wearing visible religious symbols.
BA eventually relented, changing its policy to allow Eweida to return to work.
But the 58-year-old wants BA to acknowledge the old policy amounted to religious discrimination, and she is seeking 120,000 pounds (nearly $200,000) in damages and lost wages for the roughly three months she was kept off the job.
Human rights group Liberty said it was backing Eweida’s bid on legal principle. Spokeswoman Mairi Clare Rodgers said British employment tribunals had ruled against Eweida, setting “quite a dangerous precedent for people who want to express their religion.”
BA has denied the allegation of religious discrimination.
A High Court judgment is expected in the coming weeks.