Page last updated at 08:47 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 09:47 UK

Christian's BA costs bid refused

Nadia Eweida
Nadia Eweida wants to claim 4,000 in lost wages

A Christian British Airways (BA) employee sent home for wearing a cross has been told she must bear the full costs of future legal action.

Nadia Eweida wants to overturn a ruling that BA did not religiously discriminate against her in 2006.

But her legal bid for an order guaranteeing her from paying BA's costs if she lost her case was refused.

Miss Eweida, 57, of south-west London, has returned to work for BA after the firm changed its uniform policy.

During the hearing, her lawyers, instructed by human rights group Liberty, told judges at the Court of Appeal that Miss Eweida would not appeal if the risk of paying BA's legal costs remains.

After the hearing, Miss Eweida, a devout Pentecostal Christian from Twickenham who works for customer services at Heathrow Airport's Terminal Five, said that "God's will would eventually be done".

Faith in workplace

Liberty said BA estimated that its legal costs would be at least £58,000.

Liberty argued that Miss Eweida should not have to run the risk of paying these.

Corinna Ferguson, legal officer for Liberty, said it was important to preserve respect for employees' faith in the workplace.

Miss Eweida wants to overturn the employment appeal tribunal's ruling in January 2008 which found she did not suffer religious discrimination.

She was sent home in September 2006 after failing to reach an compromise with managers for wearing the silver cross on a chain.

Miss Eweida returned to work in February 2007.

Public law

In her appeal, she planned to argue that BA should accept its previous policy was unlawful. She was planning to claim for £120,000 in damages and lost earnings.

Ingrid Simler QC, for BA, said that this hearing was not a "public law" case but simply a dispute between an employer and individual employee.

Ms Simler said that Miss Eweida had failed to identify anyone else at BA who felt they could not work because they were not allowed to display a faith symbol.

Judges also cancelled an earlier order capping the costs to which Miss Eweida would be liable at £25,000.

She was ordered to pay £3,500 towards BA's costs for her failed application.



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SEE ALSO
Christian appeals in BA cross ban
14 Oct 08 |  London
Airport worker loses cross case
08 Jan 08 |  London
Cross ban 'inexplicable' - Straw
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