Lifestyle & Belief

Nadia Eweida, Christian British Airways employee, wins discrimination case


Nadia Eweida shows her crucifix to photographers as she leaves television studios near Parliament on January 15, 2013 in London, England. The European Court of Human Rights has passed judgement on four individuals who claim their employers discriminated against them for their Christan beliefs. The court ruled that Nadia Eweida's rights had been violated after her employer, British Airways, prevented her from visibly wearing a religious cross pendant on a necklace. However, three other Christians, nurse Shirley Chaplin, marriage counsellor Gary McFarlane and registrar Lillian Ladele all had their claims declined.


Oli Scarff

Nadia Eweida, a Christian British Airways employee, has won a discrimination case at the European Court of Human Rights.

Eweida launched a suit against British Airways after they asked her not to wear her cross necklace visibly, according to BBC News

British Airways argued that the cross was a breach of their uniform codes, which prohibited employees from wearing religious symbols; they sent Eweida home from her job at the check-in desk at Heathrow International Airport for wearing a small cross on a chain, the Independent reported

She was then reportedly offered another job in which she wouldn't interact with customers, which she refused, CNN reported

The airline changed their uniform policy in 2007, and Eweida returned to her post at the check-in desk.

British Airways was ordered to pay Eweida $2,675 in damages and $40,000 in costs, according to NBC News

"I'm very happy and very pleased that Christian rights have been vindicated in the UK and Europe," she said, Sky News reported

Three other employees who launched similar suits, however, lost their cases, in which prosecutors argued that articles nine and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibit religious discrimination and allow "freedom of thought, conscience and religion," were violated by various companies, Huffington Post UK reported

Among them were Gary McFarlane, a marriage counselor who was fired for objecting to offer therapy to homosexuals; Lillian Ladel, a registrar who refused to conduct gay civil partnership ceremonies; and nurse Shirley Chaplin, who was moved to a paperwork position after refusing to remove her cross, according to the Huffington Post. 

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