Cross dispute

Published December 1, 2006

London (ENI)-British Airways has become embroiled in a dispute with a check-in official at Heathrow Airport in London who refused a company request to cover up the cross she was wearing around her neck. Nadia Eweida, aged 55, who is on unpaid leave until the dispute is resolved, claims the right to display her Christian religious affiliation in a discreet way.

The cross is less than two centimetres wide, and Ms. Eweida asserted the company did not afford her the same rights as Muslims and Sikhs, who may wear headscarves and turbans. The BBC reported recently that Ms. Eweida had rejected a compromise offer of a back-room job where she would not wear a uniform or have to conceal her cross.

“Why should I have to go and hide myself in a recruitment job out of sight of passengers and uniformed colleagues?” it reported her as saying.

In a statement, British Airways said its policy was that religious symbols should be worn underneath the uniform. However, it stated, it was not practical for turbans and headscarves to be concealed.


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