The British Airways (BA) crucifix case which reached the Court of Appeal today is "not worth the legal fees incurred", and serves as a stark reminder to employers to build discretion into workplace dress codes, an employment lawyer has warned.
Darren Sherborne, head of employment and partner at Rickerbys law firm, told Personnel Today the case - whereby devout Christian Nadia Eweida is claiming BA discriminated against her when she refused to remove her cross necklace at work - highlights employers' ability to "lose track of what's important".
He urged HR professionals to allow flexibility in their uniform policies to prevent religious cases of this nature reaching court.
Eweida, who had been a check-in worker at the airline for seven years, was suspended in 2006 after she refused to stop wearing the Christian symbol.
She claims the suspension was discriminatory, especially since the airline allows Sikh employees to wear traditional iron bangles, and Muslim workers are permitted to wear head scarves.
In 2007, BA changed its uniform policy, which saw Eweida return to work.
Sherborne told the magazine: "This case highlights our ability as a profession to lose track of what's important, and what staff come to work for. If the manager in question had been asked to stand back and remind themselves as to the reason for being in business, and the aim of being in business, the issue of the employee displaying a religious symbol would not be one worthy of the legal fees incurred."
The EAT found that the previous BA dress code did not disadvantage a particular group.