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Christian worker challenges ‘anti-Islam’ dismissal at Court of Appeal hearing

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Issued on behalf of Christian Concern

Press Release

For Immediate Release

23 June 2014

Christian worker challenges ‘anti-Islam’ dismissal at Court of Appeal hearing

10.30 Hearing at Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, on Wednesday (25 June)
A Christian worker who lost her job after 13 years at Heathrow airport, on the basis of false rumours that she was 'anti-Islam', will be heard at the Court of Appeal in London on Wednesday/Thursday (25/26 June).

Nohad Halawi, who worked in a duty free shop at Heathrow's Terminal 3, had defended a fellow Christian employee who was mocked by fellow Muslim workers for wearing a cross.  Despite unsubstantiated complaints by the Muslim workers that she had behaved in an ‘anti-Islam’ manner, the management  took away her ‘airside’ pass which meant that she was no longer allowed to work at the airport.

Mrs Halawi claimed unfair dismissal and religious discrimination at an Employment Tribunal in 2012 but it ruled that she had no protection under employment law as she was not “technically employed”, despite significant evidence to the contrary.  
She contacted the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) for support and it instructed leading human rights barrister, Paul Diamond, to represent her. At an Employment Appeal Tribunal in October last year, Mr Diamond argued that Mrs Halawi was an employee under European law, and as such should be protected from discrimination. He also argued that the Employment Tribunal should have considered the relationship which existed between Mrs Halawi and World Duty Free and Caroline South Associates, who controlled her working arrangements, as the basis for allowing her to be deemed an ‘employee’, or a ‘worker’ under European law.

Twenty-two of Mrs Halawi colleagues at Heathrow, including other Muslim workers, signed a petition which stated: “We are shocked and saddened by the recent dismissal of our colleague and friend, Nohad, as a result of malicious and unfounded allegations made against her.”

Andrea Williams, CEO 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 this Wednesday."
Nohad Malawi’s case at the Court of Appeal will take place at 10.30 on Wednesday (25 June) at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand.

For further information/interview:
Garry Selfridge:  07545 696 207
Andrea Minichiello Williams:  07712 591 164



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