Today’s rulings concerned four high-profile and contentious cases, in which Christians claimed that their right to religious freedom under the European Convention had been violated. The court upheld only one of the complaints, that of Nadia Eweida, who argued that her employer, British Airways, had discriminated against her by banning her from wearing a cross. Those wearing symbols of other faiths, she argued, had been treated differently.
The verdict was immediately hailed as a breakthrough that would entitle all employees to wear a symbol of their religion. But this is not quite true ”“ first, because BA has allowed staff to wear discreet symbols of their religion for the past six years, as have others, and, second, because the court’s ruling in another case, also involving the wearing of a cross, went the opposite way. The court decided here that the NHS was justified in banning a nurse from wearing a cross on a chain on safety grounds.