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This note examines the judgment in the case of Eweida and Others v the United Kingdom, handed down by the European Court of Human Rights on 15 January 2013. The case considered the restrictions an employer may justifiably place on workers’ freedom to manifest their religion in the workplace.

There were four applicants before the European Court, all of whom were practising Christians. Two applicants, Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin, had been prevented from wearing a cross at work. The third applicant, Lillian Ladele, worked for a local authority as a registrar of births, deaths and marriages. She viewed same-sex civil partnerships as contrary to God’s law and was disciplined for refusing to officiate at them. The fourth applicant, Gary McFarlane, provided sex therapy and relationship counselling. He was dismissed for failing to assure his employer that he would, in line with the company’s Equal Opportunities Policy, provide counselling services to same-sex couples.

The Court found that there had been a violation of Ms Eweida’s Convention rights but not those of the other three applicants.


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