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Heathrow discrimination

December 2014

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a Christian worker, who lost her job at Heathrow airport after being falsely accused of making anti-Islam comments, has no employment protection rights.

In the judgement, Lady Justice Arden said, ‘I have an uneasy feeling that the complex arrangements have the effect that the appellant has no remedy for discrimination’.

According to the Christian Institute, the case has raised ‘vital issues’ about whether employers can effectively sidestep important employment protections, such as non-discrimination and religious freedom regulations, through the use of complex contract arrangements.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Nohad Halawi, who worked in a duty-free shop at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 for 13 years, had defended a Christian colleague who was mocked by Muslim colleagues for wearing a cross.

She spoke with management about the way that some Muslim workers spoke disparagingly about Jesus and was additionally concerned about comments made against Jews and Christians.

However, a complaint was then made against her, based on a misheard conversation and spurious rumours, that she had behaved in an anti-Islam manner, whereupon the management company withdrew her airside security pass, disqualifying her from working at the duty-free shop.

Despite claiming unfair dismissal and religious discrimination at a tribunal in 2012, it was ruled that she had no protection under employment law as she was not technically employed, despite the fact that she had worked at Heathrow for 13 years.

In October 2014, the original decision — that she did not have employment rights — was upheld.

 

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