Christian nurse set to appeal cross case
A Christian nurse has confirmed she plans to appeal after losing her discrimination-at-work case over wearing a necklace with a cross.
The European Convention on Human Rights ruled that Shirley Chaplin’s rights had not been violated when her employer insisted that she had to stop wearing the crucifix for health and safety reasons.
Ms Chaplin, 57, from Exeter, was transferred to a desk job by Royal Devon and Exeter Trust Hospital after she refused to remove the cross, which she said she had been wearing to work for three decades.
She explained that she had no regret over her actions and felt she had to “stand up for my faith”.
But the judges decided her rights had not been impeded, agreeing that her religious rights were outweighed by any health and safety concerns.
Speaking after the ruling, Ms Chaplin explained that she has worn the crucifix since she was 16 and throughout her nursing career which began in 1978.
She added: “I’ve worn it without incident. I’ve nursed a very wide range of patients. I’ve been bitten, I’ve been scratched, I’ve had computers thrown at me but no one has ever, ever grabbed my crucifix,” she added.
“To say it’s a health and safety risk, I really don’t agree with that at all. We intend to appeal and take it back to the European Court.”
Hospital officials said they had suggested a number of ways Ms Chaplin could still wear the cross, such as concealing it under her uniform, but she had refused.
Her case was first heard at an Employment Appeal Tribunal in 2010, but her complaint was not upheld.
Ms Chaplin was one of four British Christians who brought religious discrimination-at-work cases against the Government at the European Convention on Human Rights.
The judges ruled that three of the four, including Ms Chaplin, had not had their rights violated, but they ruled that British Airways worker Nadia Eweida had suffered discrimination after being told not to wear her white gold cross so visibly at work.