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ICC Note: A British airways employee who was forced to remove a cross from around her neck has been exonerated by a European court. Her case, as well as several other religious discrimination cases, were heard by the European court of human rights after being rejected by British courts. Unfortunately the other three cases, including a Christian counselor who was fired for being unwilling to provide sexual therapy to same-sex couples, were lost.
By Claire Davenport/Reuters
01/15/2013 Europe (CN) -An employee who was asked by British Airways to remove a Christian cross from around her neck has won a religious discrimination case at Europe’s human rights court but three other claimants lost similar cases on Tuesday.
The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights will mean private companies will have to reconsider how they treat their employees’ rights to express their religious beliefs in the workplace.
Nadia Eweida was sent home without pay from British Airways in 2006 for wearing a necklace with a small silver cross that the company said violated its dress code.
The court ruled that British Airways’ request for Eweida to remove the cross “amounted to an interference with her right to manifest her religion.”
However, Shirley Chaplin, Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane all lost appeals in which they argued that British courts had not protected their rights to religious expression.
Nurse Chaplin was told by her employers to remove a crucifix around her neck as it could cause injury if a patient pulled at it.
The two remaining cases pit gay rights against the right to religious freedom.
McFarlane was dismissed from a national counselling service when his employers judged him unwilling to offer sex advice to homosexual couples. The fourth claimant, Ladele, refused to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies for gay couples as part of her duties as a registrar.
Both lost their cases on Tuesday.

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