News from Europe

Nigerian nurse discriminated by UK hospital because of tiny crucifix necklace

A British tribunal agreed that a Catholic nurse was right that dismissal from her job for wearing a tiny cross was a sign of discrimination on her faith and violated her human rights. It is about 61-year-old Mary Onuoha, who was ordered by London hospital authorities to remove the cross for "sanitary reasons," even though other staff members may have worn hijabs, saris, turbans and jewelry.


A Nigerian nurse has been discriminated against since 2015. Due to the cross, which she had worn at work for 19 years without any problems, she became, inter alia, degraded. Increasing harassment and psychological pressure resulted in her being fired from her job. The woman referred the case to the labor court, which ruled in her favor.

The Court rejected the employer’s claim that “the cross was not a symbol of the nurse’s faith and that it was a source of potential contamination”. It also stated that “she had been dismissed without just cause, which was discriminatory and violated her human rights.”

Moreover, the court noted that “preventing a Christian woman from displaying the cross was part of a broader campaign of persecution,” and thus recognized, as the woman’s lawyer emphasizes, that Christians have the right to profess their faith. 

She added that “she draws strength from looking at the cross and is proud to be a Christian.” The British health service has announced that it will review its policy regarding the wearing of signs of faith by medical workers. Possible compensation for the nurse has not been informed yet.


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