A British Airways check-in worker, suspended for wearing a cross the size of a 5p piece around her neck, is accusing the airline of discrimination.
Reported by The Times newspaper, Nadia Eweida was put on unpaid leave from her post at Heathrow in September after refusing to conceal the cross. The suspension followed a written warning issued in 2004 after colleagues complained she was ‘forcing’ her views upon them. Under cross examination she denied that she had also told a gay colleague “it was not too late to redeem himself” and that she had slapped the wrist of another for saying ‘thank God’.
According to the newspaper report, a number of grievance and appeal hearings took place at the end of last year, resulting in the offer of a non-uniformed and out of sight position which the claimant refused to take. Eventually Eweida went back in February when the airline relaxed its rules.
Eweida told the employment tribunal, however, that whilst the BA policy had changed on paper, in reality things hadn’t changed. In a statement read to the court she claimed: “No other minority group would be treated like I was. The atmosphere in British Airways is one of hostility/suppression of Christianity and Judaeo-Christian morality. No other religious group (except the Jews) would suffer as I have done for the wearing of a small cross.”
The hearing continues.