Landmark ECHR case: British Airways was wrong

15 Jan, 2013

Today in a landmark religious discrimination case the European Court of Human Rights ruled that British Airways was wrong to force Nadia Eweida out of her job for wearing a cross.


The judgment, published in Strasbourg, found a fair balance was not struck between Miss Eweida’s desire to demonstrate her religious belief and BA’s wish to “project a certain corporate image”.


Three other Christians lost their appeals.


The ECHR rejected the cases 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 registrar Lillian Ladele, who was disciplined when she refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies, also lost their legal action. 


Tom Walker (pictured), employment law partner at Manches says: “The European Court of Human Rights understandably distinguishes between a person who is herself refusing to apply equality in her job through her refusal to conduct same-sex civil partnerships and someone who merely asks to be allowed to wear a small cross at work. As lawyers used to say “res ipsa loquitur” – the thing speaks for itself.”

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