British nurse loses fight against work crucifix ban


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A British Christian nurse has lost her fight against a policy that barred her from wearing her crucifix to work.

Shirley Chaplin, 54, was told by the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital last year that the crucifix she has worn for almost 40 years on the job without incident needed to be removed for "health and safety reasons", the Catholic News Agency reports.

Refusing to comply, she took the hospital to an Employment Tribunal. The tribunal ruled on Tuesday that Chaplin is not facing discrimination, as it asserted that all employees are treated equally.

Under the Trust's current uniform policy, however, one can wear a hijab for religious reasons but not a cross, because the crucifix and and chain could cause Chaplin or others harm if a patient caught hold of it.

The nurse's offer to have a metal clasp inserted on her chain so it could easily be removed in such situations was, howeverm rejected. The Trust suggested that the nurse wear cross earrings or pin the crucifix on the inside of her uniform pocket.

"I am disappointed, but not at all surprised by the decision of the Tribunal today," she said in reaction on Tuesday.

"It was obvious from the very start that the Trust would use every tactic possible to get itself off the hook. The Trust changed its defense several times and each time we were able to counter it with a sensible argument but this did not prevail. The Trust may have won the legal argument today, but its reputation has been damaged as the moral argument was won before I even entered the Tribunal."