A Christian worker who claims that harassment by Muslim colleagues led to her losing her job is taking her former employers to the Court of Appeal.
The Times reports that Nohad Halawi claims that she and other Christian staff were victims of systematic harassment and bullying, with one colleague reduced to tears after wearing a cross.
She says she was dismissed due to rumours she was “anti-Islam” after speaking out against the harassment, defending her colleague when she was mocked.
Although her case was rejected by an employment tribunal in 2012, and then by an employment appeal tribunal (EAT) last year, Halawi has received support from the Christian Legal Centre to take the case to the court of appeal.
Halawi came to Britain in from Lebanon in 1977 and worked at a cosmetics shop at Terminal 3 of Heathrow Airport for 13 years.
Although she was registered as self-employed, she maintains that her relationship with Autogrill Retail UK (which trades as World Duty Free) was such that she is still able to sue under employment law.
Mr Justice Langstaff, the EAT judge, said that he shared an “uneasy feeling” that the working arrangements meant Halawi “could have been the victim of discrimination and yet have no right to complain to a tribunal”.
He still ruled, however, that she could not sue as an employee as she had provided her services through a limited company that she had set up and did not have an employment contract.
Her lawyers are now expected to argue that this decision was flawed, and that she was entitled to protection under European law.
Andrea Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre said: “This is a clear case of injustice involving a Christian worker which was obvious to many of Nohad’s colleagues – including some Muslim colleagues – who signed a petition protesting against her dismissal.
“In order for us to challenge Nohad’s unfair dismissal, and the unequal treatment of Christians in the workplace, we need a judge to rule that she was in fact employed. This is why we’re supporting Nohad as her case goes to the court of appeal.”