The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron has recently said during the Prime Minister’s Question Time that he may consider bringing in laws protecting the rights of people to wear religious symbols whilst they are at work.
Issues have arisen out of the 2006 case of Nadia Eweida (pictured right), a British Airways employee who was sent home because British Airways felt that her wearing of a cross was in violation of their dress code. Eweida took her case to the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeals Tribunal and then to the Court of Appeal in 2010, all of whom upheld the employers action. British Airways have since changed their policy on dress code to accommodate the wearing of religious symbols.
She has now taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights seeking justice. She is joined in her fight by a former NHS worker, Shirley Chaplin from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospitals NHS Trust. Chaplin had been told that her wearing of a crucifix was in breach of the NHS codes on wearing of necklaces in hospitals on safety grounds.
The Prime Minister’ comments seem to suggest that regardless of the results of the European Court’s ruling, workers will be able to wear articles of religious significance in workplaces, should the law be changed to accommodate this.