Amnesty International UK / www.amnesty.org.uk
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Posted: 15 January 2013
Today’s European Court of Human Rights ruling that British Airways discriminated against an employee over her religious beliefs, firmly upholds the rights to freedom of religion and expression, Amnesty International said.
In the same ruling, the Court found that the rights of three other Christian employees were not violated. A nurse was told that it was reasonable for her employer to insist that she did not wear a necklace on health grounds. Two other individuals, Ms Ladele and Mr McFarlene, argued that their dismissal, justified by their employers on the basis of their refusal to conduct same sex civil partnership and to provide relationship counselling to same sex couples, amounted to discrimination on the ground of their Christian beliefs.
Marco Perolini said:
"This notion has unfortunately often been used as a smokescreen to discriminate against religious believers.
"Of course there are cases where employers may put in place rules to restrict their employees wearing religious symbols in the workplace, but there should always be a legitimate aim for doing so and the restriction should always be proportionate and necessary to the aim sought."