A woman lost a claim for religious discrimination earlier this week. She claimed that she was sacked for wearing a headscarf because her employer had decided that it was not in keeping with the company’s trendy image.
Her employer, Global Luggage, claimed that Ms Farrah was fired for taking an extended lunch-break. The employment tribunal was having none of it, though, and said that Global Luggage had ”seized on the claimant’s admitted misconduct as a pretext for dismissing her”. It found that the employer had dismissed Ms Farrah unfairly and had failed to follow the ACAS disciplinary procedure. Significantly, though, it did not find that she had been the victim of religious discrimination (though it noted that an indirect discrimination claim might have succeeded.)
You probably haven’t heard about this story because, as far as I can tell, it has only been reported in the two articles I’ve linked to above. The newspapers and politicians who usually bang on about religious discrimination are strangely quiet.
However, the same people are backing Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin’s attempt to create a legal right to wear religious symbols at work. (See previous pieces here and here.) If they are successful, and a case similar to Ms Farrah’s were to occur in future, her employers could be looking at paying out a lot more than £3,218 in compensation.
As I keep saying, a legal right to wear a cross at work would also protect the wearers of many other religious symbols too. I wonder if the Mail, the Telegraph and others would change their tune once people started winning legal disputes over niqabs, tattoos and pentagrams.