Employee Suspended For Wearing Christian Symbol
When Nadia Eweida
refused to remove a necklace bearing a small crucifix, her
employer, British Airways (BA), sent her home for two weeks without
The airline's dress code prohibits visible jewelry or other
"adornments" while on duty without permission from management.
Eweida, a check-in worker at London's Heathrow, says she is
suing BA because other employees are allowed to wear clothing and
adornments intended to express their faith.
She told the London Evening Standard she was particularly
surprised since she and other employees just completed mandatory
diversity training including advice on dealing with gays and
lesbians in the workplace.
BA's diversity rules permit Sikh employees to wear the
traditional bangle, a sort of religious jewelry, and
Muslims to pray during work time. Additionally, Muslims and Hindus
may wear traditional head wear such as hijabs and turbans.
Eweida said, "I will not hide my belief in the Lord Jesus.
British Airways permits Muslims to wear a headscarf, Sikhs to wear
a turban and other faiths religious apparel. Only Christians are
forbidden to express their faith. I am a loyal and conscientious
employee of British Airways, but I stand up for the rights of all
Up until now, Eweida had an unblemished 7-year record with
British Airways. Management denied her earlier request to wear the
cross while on duty. She was told she must remove it, or cover it
with a company cravat.
In a letter to Eweida's lawyer, BA chief executive Willie Walsh
says Eweida has not been disciplined, only sent home for refusing
to comply with a reasonable request. He added, "We have previously
made changes to our uniform policy to accommodate requests, after a
detailed evaluation process including Health and Safety assessment
to incorporate the wearing of Sikh bangles."
The case is currently pending in a UK court.