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British Christian wins right to wear cross at work

Tuesday January 15, 2013 10:38:19 PM, IANS

London: A Christian woman working as an airline check-in clerk in Britain has won the right to wear a cross at work, in a landmark case that may define religious freedom in Britain and across Europe, a media report said Tuesday.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that Britain failed to protect Coptic Christian Nadia Eweida's freedom to manifest her faith in the workplace, the Telegraph reported.

The court, however, rejected a similar legal challenge from a nurse Shirley Chaplin, ruling that the hospital where she worked should be able to refuse permission to wear a cross on "health and safety" grounds.

Both women lost employment tribunal cases in Britain under their employers' uniform policy.

The British government said this was not a breach of their human rights and wearing a cross was not an essential tenet of Christianity.

But the European court said that manifesting religion was a "fundamental right".

The court also rejected parallel challenges brought by two other Christians who lost their jobs for taking a stand on a matter of conscience.

Gary McFarlane, a counsellor for the charity Relate, and Lillian Ladele, a marriage registrar, both resisted performing tasks at work that they believed would amount to approving homosexuality.

Eweida, a British Airways employee from Twickenham is south-west London, was sent home in 2006 after refusing to remove a necklace with a cross or hide it from view, the daily said.

British Airways later changed its uniform policy to allow all symbols of faith, including crosses.





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