Ludford: ECHR strikes right balance in protection of religious freedoms

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPToday the European Court of Human Rights has issued a judgment in the case of Nadia Eweida, Shirley Chaplin, Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane versus theUnited Kingdom, ruling in favour of the applicant only in the case of Ms Eweida, a British Airways airhostess who was denied the right to wear a cross at work. In the cases of Ms Chaplin, Ms Ladele and Mr McFarlane the court ruled that there had been no violation of human rights.

The applicants are four British nationals who claim that they were discriminated against at work because of their Christian faith and prevented from exercising their right to freedom of religion. LibDem European justice & human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford MEP commented:

“I think the Court has struck exactly the right balance in judging that BA’s ‘corporate image’ policy should not override right of BA stewardess Nadia Eweida to wear a cross whereas genuine health and safety issues in a hospital could rule out nurse Shirley Chaplin’s desire to wear one. The insistence by registrar Lilian Ladele and Relate counsellor Gary McFarlane that their Christian consciences made them refuse to perform certain duties was unacceptable because it could result in unacceptable discrimination against gay clients.”

“The right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation is something I strongly support. Employees cannot allow their personal religious beliefs to interfere with the prescribed duties of their employment and the standards of service they provide to service-users. A religious conscience does not give you a free pass to discriminate in the workplace.”

Notes to Editors

Link to judgement:



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