British Airways Christian employee Nadia Eweida wins case

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A British Airways employee suffered discrimination at work over her Christian beliefs, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled.


Nadia Eweida took her case to the ECHR after BA made her stop wearing her white gold cross visibly.

The court said BA had not struck a fair balance between Ms Eweida’s religious beliefs and the company’s wish to “project a certain corporate image”.

It ruled the rights of three others had not been violated by their employers.

But they said Ms Eweida’s rights had been violated under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The four Christians had brought cases against the UK government for not protecting their rights but ministers, who contested the claims, argued that the rights of the employees were only protected in private.

Ms Eweida, 60, a Coptic Christian from Twickenham in south-west London, told the BBC she was “jumping with joy” after the ruling, adding it had “not been an easy ride”.

British Airways said its uniform policy was changed in 2007 to allow Miss Eweida and others to “wear symbols of faith” and that she and other employees had been working under these arrangements for the last six years.

Written By: Robert Pigott
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

28 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not offended by the photo and the BA restriction seemed heavy-handed. Now let’s see who can wear the biggest one without being fired.

    Let’s face it if you want to wear a religious symbol in public it’s open for discussion and mockery as well as support. Wear your stupid shit but be prepared to be treated to other peoples opinions.

    The other 3 cases were rightfully dismissed but how can we explain the effortlessly simple concept of religious rights not being able to trump other peoples human rights? I’d like to classify any and all “religious speech” as free speech. Simple you can say what you like (within the usual “fire in a theatre”/”no harm” limits) but that’s it; no tax breaks, no exceptions and no special treatment.

  2. British Airways apparently bent over backwards to accommodate this woman. Apparently, she maintained that: “It is important to wear it to express my faith so that other people will know that Jesus loves them.”

    BA subsequently reviewed its policy on uniform and told here she could wear a lapel badge if she wanted. But apparently this was not acceptable. She insisted on wearing her dangly bling.

    So what was important to her was NOT manifesting her “faith” but manifesting it through a specific bit of jewellery despite that being against BA uniform policy.

    ECHR should have chucked this bullshitter out along with the other 3 cases. No wonder Dawkins once described her as having “the most stupid face I have ever seen” LOL to that.

    Mind you , I wonder if its a case of, lets not appear to be too brutal here, we’ll throw out 3 “Christian persecution” cases but let one slip through. Give them one little victory. Actually, in the long run, this jewellery BS is a minor almost pyrrhic victory.

    Not being able to discriminate against gay people is a much more serious issue. And the ECHR gave the correct decision there.

    Stuff em. Theres still no god…..

    :-)

    SG

  3. Hopefully, a drunk and/or scared-of-flying passenger will accidentally grab the dangly nuisance and demonstrate the reason for the “no necklaces” rule.
    It never (originally) had anything to do with the cross, it was the necklace that was the problem. What was hanging from the necklace was irrelevant, until her preceived “christian privilege” got in the way.

  4. All the airline had to do was make it mandatory for every employee of any faith to wear a visible symbol of their faith on a necklace. How fast would the religious get up in arms about Nazi’s and the Holocaust then sue the crap out of the airline to forbid any use of jewelry to mark a person as a member of any faith. These British Air goons just didn’t use the correct psychology.

  5. OK here’s what I don’t get about this…
    I get that she’s a Christian and she wants the world to know it.
    What I don’t get is this assertion that wearing a rosary necklace is so intrinsic to her faith it’s mandatory and I’m speaking here as a lapsed CofE Christian.

    In all the years I was brought up with Christianity the cross round the neck was an optional extra in the same way that slapping a fish sticker on your back bumper is.

    So from my perspective this is special pleading for something which no-one else is allowed. Fine if the jewelery dresscode applies across the board and other people can wear whatever trinket they like to work but it’s not writ in any ancient manuscript or catechism that Christians have to wear one at all times.

    Is this a new rule now? It all seems a bit disingenuous to me.

  6. In reply to #13 by Flapjack:

    it’s not writ in any ancient manuscript or catechism that Christians have to wear one at all times.

    As a secularist, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to determine what anyone else’s belief entails or requires. If someone claims to be a Christian and that it’s part of their faith that they must wear a certain piece of jewellery, for example, nobody else is entitled to state otherwise. It’s irrelevant that other people who identify themselves as Christians don’t wear the same piece of jewellery. There’s no ultimate rule that states that a person must pick a belief that fits in one of a limited number of boxes, or that they must follow a set of written rules.

    That doesn’t mean that people have a right to impose their beliefs on others; it just means that everyone should be entitled to determine their own beliefs.

  7. Given that the content of this story is about four cases, I find it frustrating and misleading that the headline and opening paragraphs place emphasis on the BA case.

    Why not lead with “employers were right to fire homophobic Christian”?

    I know from experience that there are ignorant people who read a headline and first paragraph and feel they are a subject matter expert afterwards.

    In the case of this religiously biased headline, I’m sure there will be plenty of people making a generalisation that Christians are treated unfairly. Contrary to secular values that all individuals should be treated equally, with no special priveleges based on religion.

    If you are at the age of reason and want to believe in god, get on with it. As long as you can ensure nobody else suffers as a result, or has to put up with your beliefs being forced upon them.

  8. In reply to #15 by sunbeamforjeebus:

    so would this cretinous woman take her Mr.T badge off

    Doubt she’s got a Mr T badge now…..probably had to give it back to “BA” when he fired her. I pity the fool!

  9. What’s strange about this story is the way the press have unanimously put the emphasis on this woman’s “victory” while almost completely ignoring the far more important defeats of the other three. Two of these were demanding the right to discriminate against gays in the their work.

  10. In reply to #18 by andyb:

    What’s strange about this story is the way the press have unanimously put the emphasis on this woman’s “victory” while almost completely ignoring the far more important defeats of the other three. Two of these were demanding the right to discriminate against gays in the their work.

    To my point in post 16, completely agree and you’re right to point out that two of these were actively seeking the right to discriminate against homosexuals.

    Why were these cases held together anyway? On what basis of rationale was that decision made?

    Yes, the cases have a common ground in that they are all connected to religion. They also happen to be British cases. They all also happen to be employment cases and, fundamentally, legal cases.

    None of this seems to be a good reason to hear them all together. Doing so, has only given the media an opportunity to sensationalise which, in this case, they have done so with great bias and emphasis in favour of religion.

  11. In reply to #19 by JessW1:

    In reply to #18 by andyb:

    What’s strange about this story is the way the press have unanimously put the emphasis on this woman’s “victory”…

    …given the media an opportunity to sensationalise which, in this case, they have done so with great bias and emphasis in favour of religion.

    Martin Rowson to the rescue

  12. The European Court of (err) Humbug Rights, has come up with many weird rulings over the years.
    It is a very remote “politically correct” outfit, which provides a good living for lawyers and bureaucrats!

  13. If it’s a choice of just being allowed to express oneself, then it should be allowed to wear a Band t-shirt (so you can express your love of the Beatles), and Anarchy symbol jewelry, etc. I don’t believe that freedom to display ones opinion via ones dress directly equates freedom of religion. I happily support peoples freedom of religion, but don’t think dress codes in businesses and companies should always be trumped by the ability to propagandize ones religion, or ones band pref, or whatever…

    In reply to #14 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee:

    In reply to #13 by Flapjack:

    it’s not writ in any ancient manuscript or catechism that Christians have to wear one at all times.

    As a secularist, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to determine what anyone else’s belief entails or requires. If someone claims to be a Christian and that it’s part of their faith that they must wear a certain piece of jewellery, for example, nobody else is entitled to state otherwise. It’s irrelevant that other people who identify themselves as Christians don’t wear the same piece of jewellery. There’s no ultimate rule that states that a person must pick a belief that fits in one of a limited number of boxes, or that they must follow a set of written rules.

    That doesn’t mean that people have a right to impose their beliefs on others; it just means that everyone should be entitled to determine their own beliefs.

  14. In reply to #22 by Madadh:

    I happily support peoples freedom of religion, but don’t think dress codes in businesses and companies should always be trumped by the ability to propagandize ones religion, or ones band pref, or whatever

    I entirely agree that there should be no automatic right to trump any employer’s dress code, working practice, or rules on the basis of an employee’s religious belief.

    In fact, it should be completely irrelevant whether an employee’s personal beliefs are religious or not. ALL personal beliefs, religious or otherwise, should be treated equally in this regard. No special consideration should be given to beliefs that are religious. A personal belief is a personal belief.

    However, I do think that DRESS CODE is one area where employees might normally have a right to exemption from their employer’s rules (provided it is otherwise safe, reasonable and practical). Every person, whether or not they are religious, has their own sense of modesty. So I think that employees should have a certain amount of leeway to cover their legs, arms, etc. But that right should definitely not extend to jewellery or the display of symbols, etc. Of course, in nearly all cases, most employers are happy for their employees to wear at least a modest amount of jewellery with any kind of symbols.

  15. Here is the closing para’ of the BHA’s take on it:

    This approach by the Court to the cases seems to us to be the correct one, although there are some concerns over the reasoning in the Eweida case. But the real question we should be asking is what these cases were really all about – they were never about religious freedoms in reality, but employment codes of practice and contractual agreements which were spun to create a victim narrative of ‘Christian persecution’ when this was anything but. The reality is that they have been pushed by a small Christian lobby in order to whip up a false victim narrative in order to drive a wider agenda in opposition to equality and human rights for all and by and large the media have taken the bait. As the Court has shown, there certainly is scope in society for the accommodation of religious practices, but only so long as those practices do not infringe the rights and freedoms of others.

    False Victim Narrative Syndrome.

    You heard it here first!

    Anvil.

    British Humanist Assoc’

  16. Thanks Bluebird, I was wondering but this seems to be it!

    In reply to #9 by bluebird:

    In reply to #1 by alaskansee:
    Now let’s see who can wear the biggest one without being fired.

    Arthur Blessitt

  17. With increasing numbers of “nones”, public attitudes to these badge wearers may change.

    After all – I show considerable respect and sympathy to people who show disability badges on their cars!

  18. Ms eweilda can not see the cross around neck unless she looks at the mirror, the cross is more for others to see including those of us who consider it a waste of white gold, if she wants to wear a lucky charm why not on her wrist where she can see it more often,or hide it away under her sleeve if need be,had this issue been in relation to a tattoo on her neck it would never of gone to court, there was a case in a Dublin warehouse in which two Muslim staff members informed their manager that they would require two hours per day to pray, the manager replied “yes of course but i will need you both to clock out and in when the praying is finished. Needless to say the two Muslim men quickly changed their minds and realised that although “god is great”money is better.

  19. wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Court_of_Human_Rights -

    Now judges are elected for a non-renewable nine year term.[9] The number of full-time judges sitting in the Court is equal to that of the contracting states to the European Convention on Human Rights. The Convention requires that judges are of high moral character and to have qualifications suitable for high judicial office, or be a jurisconsult of recognised competence.

    Judges are elected by majority vote in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from the three candidates each contracting state nominates.

    Judges are elected whenever a sitting judge’s term has expired or when a new states accedes to the Covenant. Judges must retire at the age of 70, but may hold office until a new judge is elected or the cases in which they sit have come to an end.

    The judges perform their duties in an individual capacity and have no institutional or other ties with the contracting state on behalf of whom they were elected. To ensure the independence of the Court judges are not allowed to participate in activity that may compromise the Court’s independence.

    They can only be dismissed from office if the other judges decide, by two-thirds majority, that the judge has ceased to fulfill the required conditions. Judges are, for the duration of their term, beneficiaries of the privileges and immunities provided in Article 4 of the Statute of the Council of Europe.

    A judges are elected by majority vote in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, religious bias and “political correctness”, can be included in views of members of selecting body, although once elected judges do not appear to be accountable to anybody except fellow judges.

    You don’t need much imagination to see how religious politicians are likely to interpret, “requires that judges are of high moral character “, as a criteria for appointment – or that a legal background of swearing oaths on bibles could have effects on mental attitudes.

    Highly paid career judges operating away from their native countries, are hardly like to have had a lot of recent contact with ordinary people in the real world.

  20. Epistemic liberties do not serve as a basis for claims, powers or immunities in the realm of conduct. No jewellery means no jewellery, regardless of what you may believe.

    George believes that aliens are controlling his thoughts, but that doesn’t give him the right to wear a tin-foil hat to work either.

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