A Christian who has fought a six year battle against British Airways has criticised the British Government for not supporting her case.
In a decision announced today, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Nadia Eweida, of Strawberry Hill Close, suffered discrimination at work over her Christian beliefs after she was sent home for wearing her Christian cross.
European judges ruled that there had been a violation of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Miss Eweida said: “I’m very pleased Christian religious rights have been vindicated both in the United Kingdom and in Europe.
“I’m very pleased that after all this time the European court has specifically recognised paragraph 114 of the judgement, that I suffered anxiety, frustration and distress.
“I’m disappointed that the British courts and the British Government did not support me on this and that my case had to go to the European court.”
Miss Eweida’s case was heard at the ECHR on September 4, alongside three other Christians who believed their rights had been violated.
The four Christians claimed their employers' actions went against articles nine and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protected their rights to "freedom of thought, conscience and religion" and prohibited religious discrimination. All but Miss Eweida’s case were unsuccessful.
Miss Eweida said: “I’m disappointed on behalf of the other three applicants, but I fully support them if they seek a referral of their cases to the grand chamber.”
Since Miss Eweida was sent home for refusing to remove her cross in 2006, she has taken her case to an employment tribunal, appeal tribunal, the High Court and the Supreme Court.
The 61-year-old was off work as a check-in operator at British Airways (BA), without pay, for five months, but in 2010 the Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal against an employment tribunal’s decision, which ruled BA did not discriminate against her.
Miss Eweida is still working at BA, which has changed its policy regarding wearing religious symbols.
She said: “They changed their policy under pressure from the public, MPs and the media.”
Twickenham MP Vince Cable has shown his support for Ms Eweida and spoken publicly on the issue several times.