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Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2006, 17:44 GMT
Woman loses fight to wear cross
Nadia Eweida
Ms Eweida said she was standing up for her faith

A British Airways (BA) employee has lost her fight to openly wear a cross necklace at work at Heathrow.

Nadia Eweida, 55, of Twickenham, London, has been on unpaid leave since her bosses said she could not visibly wear her cross at the check-in counter.

She found out she had lost her appeal against the decision by BA when she met with the airline bosses on Monday.

BA denied it had banned the wearing of crosses and said Ms Eweida had a right to a second appeal.

It said its uniform policy stated that such items could be worn if concealed underneath the uniform.

It is important to wear it to express my faith
Nadia Eweida

Ms Eweida said she was effectively "forced" to take unpaid leave after refusing to conceal the symbol.

She said during Monday's meeting, British Airways told her it respected her faith and accepted the cross was not jewellery, but would be standing by its original decision.

Ms Eweida added: "I am fairly disappointed but I'm looking forward to the next stage because the cross is important and the truth will be revealed.

HAVE YOUR SAY
If it is acceptable to wear a veil, then yes it should be acceptable to wear a cross too
Chris E, Norwich

"It is important to wear it to express my faith so that other people will know that Jesus loves them."

Ms Eweida said people of other faiths were allowed to wear visible religious symbols such as headscarves and she wanted to be allowed to do the same.

She has been supported by the country's second most senior Church of England cleric.

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, has urged BA to reconsider, calling their decision "nonsense".

'Question of practicality'

BA said in a statement: "British Airways has 34,000 uniformed staff, all of whom know they must abide by our uniform policy.

"The policy does not ban staff from wearing a cross. It lays down that personal items of jewellery, including crosses may be worn - but underneath the uniform. Other airlines have the same policy.

"The policy recognises that it is not practical for some religious symbols - such as turbans and hijabs - to be worn underneath the uniform. This is purely a question of practicality. There is no discrimination between faiths.

"In Nadia Eweida's case, she is not suspended and we want her to come back to work. We have explained to her the need to comply with the uniform policy like all her colleagues whatever their faith."

BA said Ms Eweida had been offered a non-uniformed post were she would be able to openly wear her cross but had refused to take it.

She now has seven days to lodge another appeal against the airline's decision.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
BA responds to Nadia Eweida's complaint



VOTE RESULTS
Should there be a right to wear a cross at work?
Yes
 70.86% 
No
 25.43% 
Don't know
 3.72% 
17372 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


SEE ALSO
Archbishop slams BA cross ruling
20 Nov 06 |  North Yorkshire
Woman to sue BA in necklace row
15 Oct 06 |  London

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