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Employers warned over faith rights

11 July 2011

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The government is being urged to take action against employers who fail to respect the rights of Christians to display their faith in the workplace.

The high-level lobbying followed a series of cases where Christians claimed they faced discrimination after expressing their beliefs at work, such as British Airways worker Nadia Eweida who lost an employment tribunal ruling after being told she could not wear a cross visibly at work.

The Church of England condemned the so-called “chill factor” which leads employers to allegedly over-react to the law on expression of religious belief. And the the General Synod was told the government has been warned “on several occasions” to tackle employers who view expressions of faith as automatically offensive.

Church of England spokesman Dr Philip Giddings insisted the existing law did not prevent Christians from expressing their views in the workplace but said it had been wrongly interpreted as doing so.

He said Church officials had received a “sympathetic hearing” from ministers and looked forward to “practical responses” from the government.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

What’s your view? Should expressions of religious faith be permitted in the workplace? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“Why is everything so complicated now?! It’s ridiculous!” – Name and address withheld

“This is a Christian Country and diluting the Christian ethos has in my opinion contributed to a decline in social values and respect for others. One should be able to express one’s Christian views with some reservations dependent on upon what’s being expressed orally or demonstratively in dress etc” – V Henry, London

“Common sense and a sense of fairness at last, but I think that any religious clothing, jewellery etc should be discreet as most of us would prefer not to have other people’s religious expressions in our faces when all we want is competent, professional approach from whoever is dealing with our business, wherever or what ever that may be” – Anne, West Midlands

“As long as it’s all or nothing for every religion, as per Mike, Norfolk! [see comment below – Ed] Equality is what it needs to be” – Chris, Surrey

“The answer is simple – yes for all or no for all, no matter what faith you are. Discrimination is an act when one is deemed not as important than the other” – Ruth James-Morse, London

“Yes – freedom of expression is a precious right and should extend to the workplace” – Matt, Notts

“The answer has to be yes, unless you also ban the wearing our hijabs, turbans, skull caps, Stars of David, certain body piercings, Indian art/symbols, Celtic jewellery, icons  etc etc etc” – Mike, Norfolk

“No” – Dave North, Yorks