BA worker loses appeal in row over cross

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The Independent Online

A devout Christian woman who was employed as a check-in worker at British Airways today lost an appeal against a decision to stop her wearing a cross.

Nadia Eweida, 55, has been refusing to return to work since bosses told her last month she could not wear the necklace to work.

She lost her appeal against the decision when she met BA today although the airline said she had the right to a second appeal.

BA said Miss Eweida had until next week to decide if she wanted to take up the option of a second appeal.

The airline said she had been offered a non-uniformed job where she could wear a cross, but she had turned this down.

The firm continued to insist that if she wanted to carry on working in the check-in area of Heathrow Airport, she would not be allowed to wear a cross.

BA has said there is no ban on religious jewellery, but it has to be hidden from view.

Miss Eweida, from Twickenham, south west London, claimed she had worn the cross throughout her seven years with BA and accused the firm of religious discrimination.

She said she did not want to hide the cross because "Jesus has to be glorified".

She added: "I am not politically motivated or minded, I just follow the Biblical truth."

She was flown to the United States by a TV company after her case became known last month, where she said she received "overwhelming support".

BA said in a statement: "British Airways has 34,000 uniformed staff, all of whom know they must abide by our uniform policy.

"The policy does not ban staff from wearing a cross. It lays down that personal items of jewellery, including crosses, may be worn - but underneath the uniform. Other airlines have the same policy.

"Our uniformed staff, many thousands of whom are Christian, have happily accepted the policy for years.

"The policy recognises that it is not practical for some religious symbols - such as turbans and hijabs - to be worn underneath the uniform. This is purely a question of practicality. There is no discrimination between faiths whatsoever.

"British Airways is a worldwide company operating in 90 different countries. We have staff and customers of all faiths and none. The uniform policy reflects the need to present a professional and consistent image wherever we operate.

"In Nadia Eweida's case, she is not suspended and we want her to come back to work. We have explained to her the need to comply with the uniform policy like all her colleagues, whatever their faith.

"She is refusing to do this. We have also offered her an alternative non-uniformed post, in which she would be able to wear her cross openly.

"Nadia was told today that her grievance appeal against the uniform policy had been unsuccessful. We understand she intends to exercise her right to a second appeal."