Sensitive subjects for employers

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QUESTIONS have been raised previously over employers’ rights to intervene when the personal beliefs of staff become an issue in the workplace.

In October 2006, Nadia Eweida, an employee of British Airways, was asked to cover up a necklace which depicted a Christian cross. When she refused, the airline placed her on unpaid leave. After a long legal battle, BA backed down, but Ms Eweida’s fight for wages withheld during the suspension has yet to be resolved .

The National Library of Scotland caused a stir in 2009 when a worker was asked to remove an “excessive” display of Saltire flags from his desk.

Meanwhile, in 2000, American employee Sheldon Swartzentruber sued his bosses at Gunite Corporation after colleagues complained a tattoo “from his elbow to his wrist that depicted a burning cross and a hooded man” was racist.