British Airways cross woman loses protection from legal costs

A Christian British Airways (BA) employee who was sent home for wearing a cross at work has been told she must bear the full costs of future legal action – estimated at £58,000, the BBC has reported.

Nadia Eweida, 57, was sent home in September 2006 after being told she could not wear the silver cross on a chain around her neck at work.

Eweida claimed the suspension was discriminatory, especially since the airline allowed Sikh employees to wear traditional iron bangles and Muslim workers to wear head scarves.

Eweida returned to work in February 2007 after BA changed its uniform policy.

Last year, it was ruled that BA did not religiously discriminate against her, but Eweida wants to appeal agaisnt this. She is seeking £120,000 in damages and lost earnings.

But her legal bid for an order protecting her from liability for BA’s costs if she loses her case has been refused.

Human rights group Liberty told judges at the Court of Appeal that Eweida would not appeal if the risk of paying BA’s legal costs remained.

Ingrid Simler, QC for BA, said 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 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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