British Airways employee loses appeal to wear cross necklace at work

LONDON: British Airways said it rejected an appeal on Monday by a check-in worker who was sent home for wearing a Christian cross while working. The airline cited company rules, which forbid employees from wearing religious symbols over their uniforms.

BA offered Nadia Eweida, who works at Heathrow Airport, a non-uniformed job where she would be free to wear her necklace openly, but she turned it down, the company said in a statement.

Eweida “is not suspended and we want her to come back to work,” the airline statement said. “We have explained to her the need to comply with the uniform policy like all her colleagues, whatever their faith.”

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The airline said Eweida had indicated she intends to exercise her right to a second appeal.

Eweida, 55, has refused to return to work since managers told her last month that she must wear the necklace under her uniform while working.

Eweida, who claims she is the victim of religious discrimination, said she did not want to hide the cross because “Jesus has to be glorified.”

A TV company flew her to the United States after her case became public last month, where she said she received “overwhelming support.”

British Airways said the uniform policy exists to maintain a consistent image around the world and that 34,000 employees, including thousands of Christians, follow it.

“The policy does not ban staff from wearing a cross. It lays down that personal items of jewelry, including crosses, may be worn — but underneath the uniform,” the statement said. “Other airlines have the same policy.”

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