A picture taken on August 28, 2012 shows a general view of the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, eastern France. Four praticising Christians took their cases alleging discrimination because of their faith to the European Court of Human Rights Tuesday after British courts ruled against their complaints.
AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
STRASBOURG: Four practicing Christians took their cases alleging discrimination because of their faith to the European Court of Human Rights Tuesday after British courts ruled against their complaints.
British Airways employee Nadia Eweida, 61, and Shirley Chaplin, a 57-year-old geriatrics nurse, said British law did not sufficiently protect their rights to freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination at work.
They complained that their employers placed restrictions on their visibly wearing Christian crosses around their necks while at work as this violated company rules.
The two lodged claims with the Employment Tribunal complaining in particular of discrimination on religious grounds but those were rejected.
The tribunal found that the visible wearing of a cross was not a requirement of the Christian faith but Eweida's personal choice and that she had failed to establish that British Airways' uniform policy had put Christians in general at a disadvantage.
An appeal was also rejected and the Supreme Court refused her leave to appeal in May 2010.
Chaplin's claim was also rejected in May 2010, the Tribunal holding that the position of the hospital which employed her had been based on health and safety rather than religious grounds.
There was therefore no evidence that anyone other than the applicant had been put at particular disadvantage.
The two other cases were brought by Lilian Ladele, 52, and Gary McFarlane, 51, who believe that homosexual relationships are contrary to God's law and that it is incompatible with their beliefs to do anything to condone homosexuality.
As a registrar of the London Borough of Islington from 1992 to 2009 Ladele refused to sign an amended contract, after the Civil Partnership Act came into force in the United Kingdom in December 2005 and she was informed that she would be required to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies between same-sex couples.
McFarlane worked as a therapist but his superiors and colleagues expressed concern that there was conflict between his religious beliefs and his work with same-sex couples.
He was dismissed summarily for gross misconduct in March 2008 on the ground that he had stated that he would comply with his employer's Equal Opportunities Policies and provide counselling to same-sex couples without any intention of doing so. A subsequent appeal was rejected.
A ruling by the Strasbourg-based court is not expected before several months.