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European court's judgment shows 'hierarchy of rights'

The court's recognition of Christian belief in everyday life is welcome, but in only finding in favour of Nadia Eweida, it has shown a hierarchy of rights now exists in UK law.

The failure of the court to protect the religious freedom of Lillian Ladele in living out her faith in a way consistent with historic Christian belief shows the limitations of this judgment.

– Dave Landrum, director of advocacy for the Evangelical Alliance

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Nurse calls on PM to change law for cross-wearers

While cross-wearing BA employee Nadia Eweida enjoyed victory at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), three other Christians lost their cases, including hospital nurse Shirley Chaplin, who had been prevented from wearing a cross visibly around her neck.

They will be appealing today's judgment at the ECHR's Grand Chamber.

Speaking at a news conference in central London, Ms Chaplin said she was "very disappointed" by the judgment but heartened that other Christians can now wear a cross in the workplace.

She said she still feels that other religions are given more freedom in the workplace and called upon David Cameron to live up to a promise to change the law to protect cross-wearers.

National

Liberty praises 'excellent' judgment on BA cross-wearer

Today's judgment is an excellent result for equal treatment, religious freedom and common sense. Nadia Eweida wasn't hurting anyone and was perfectly capable of doing her job whilst wearing a small cross. She had just as much a right to express her faith as a Sikh man in a turban or a Muslim woman with a headscarf.

British courts lost their way in her case and Strasbourg has actually acted more in keeping with our traditions of tolerance. However the Court was also right to uphold judgments in other cases that employers can expect staff not to discriminate in the discharge of duties at work.

– Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty
National

BA worker won on grounds of freedom of religion

Nadia Eweida
Nadia Eweida returned to work in 2007 after BA changed its uniform policy. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive

British Airways employee Nadia Eweida had argued the airline's denial of her wearing a cross contravened articles nine and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibit religious discrimination and allow "freedom of thought, conscience and religion".

Lawyers for the Government, which contested the claim, argued her rights were only protected in private.

But judges today ruled there had been a violation of article nine (freedom of religion), by five votes to two.

After being sent home in September 2006 for displaying the silver cross around her neck, Ms Eweida 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.

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