LONDON (AP) — British Airways PLC said Friday that it had overturned a dress code rule that had barred employees from wearing visible religious symbols.
Public controversy flared over the policy after Nadia Eweida, a check-in clerk at Heathrow airport, refused to stop wearing a tiny cross on a neck chain. She protested that the policy amounted to religious discrimination because Sikhs and Muslims were allowed to wear head coverings.
British Airways said those coverings are part of the firm’s official uniform and featured company colours.
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In a statement, BA said it had reviewed the airline’s uniform policy and consulted religious groups, including representatives from the Church of England, the Catholic Church and the Muslim Council of Britain.
“Uniform policy should be amended to allow a lapel pin symbol of faith such as a Christian cross or a Star of David, with some flexibility for individuals to wear a symbol of faith on a chain,” the statement read.
BA chief executive Willie Walsh said the company had unintentionally found itself “at the centre of one of the hottest social issues in current public debate,” adding that the decision was taken to ensure employees of all faiths felt they were being treated equally.