Devout Christian Nadia Eweida today launched an appeal against a ruling which cleared British Airways of discriminating against her by asking her to stop wearing a cross visibly at work.
Miss Eweida, 58, from Twickenham, south west London, wants three judges to overturn a 2008 decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal that she was not a victim of indirect religion or belief discrimination.
The tribunal was told she was sent home in September 2006 over the display of the small silver cross on a chain around her neck, which she wore as a personal expression of her faith.
She returned to work in customer services at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 in February 2007, after BA changed its uniform policy on visible items of jewellery, which made no distinction between those worn as a manifestation of belief or for cosmetic reasons.
Miss Eweida, who is not eligible for legal aid and is backed by human rights group Liberty, now claims she is due around £120,000 in damages and lost wages.
Her counsel, Karon Monaghan QC, told the Court of Appeal that the central issue was whether the EAT correctly addressed the question of "particular disadvantage".
"We say that the EAT fell into error when it concluded that it was necessary to establish a group disadvantage among Christians generally for the purposes of the indirect discrimination provisions. The appellant's case is that it was not necessary."
She said it was sufficient for Miss Eweida to show - as she did - that she was placed under a particular disadvantage arising from her religious beliefs.
The hearing in London before Lord Justice Sedley, Lord Justice Carnwath and Lady Justice Smith is expected to continue into tomorrow.Reuse content