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Christian worker seeks ruling to challenge “anti-Islam” dismissal

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Issued on behalf of Christian Legal Centre
Press Release
For Immediate Release
04 OCTOBER 2013

Christian worker seeks ruling to challenge “anti-Islam” dismissal

A Christian woman who worked at Heathrow airport is seeking to challenge her unfair dismissal which was prompted by false claims that she was "anti-Islam".

Nohad Halawi needs an Employment Appeal Tribunal to rule that she has employment rights before she can go on to challenge the nature of her dismissal. Her case will be heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in London today (04 OCTOBER).

Nohad Halawi worked at a beauty counter in Heathrow Terminal 3 for over ten years and was a valued member of the team. However, she was unable to continue working there after management withdrew her airside pass, something which is required for anyone working at duty free.

The events leading up to Nohad’s dismissal began when she had a conversation with a colleague and commented on his character, saying that he was a “man of God”. This was misheard by a Muslim colleague to be a criticism of Islam.

Despite the fact that the issue was resolved by Nohad’s manager, another Muslim colleague started spreading rumours that Mrs Halawi was “anti-Islam”, which ultimately led to her airside pass being suspended and then withdrawn, which meant she was no longer allowed to work at the airport. Nohad was disadvantaged throughout the investigation process and her side of the story was ignored by her managers.

A judge at an employment tribunal ruled in June 2012 that Mrs Halawi was not employed despite significant evidence to the contrary. This meant that she effectively had no employment rights, even though her work was controlled by two companies (World Duty Free and Caroline South Associates).

She was therefore unable to challenge the unfair circumstances of her dismissal. In order for Mrs Halawi to do this, she is seeking a ruling from the Employment Appeal Tribunal that she does have employment rights. Her case will be heard in London today (04 OCTOBER).

Christian Legal Centre is supporting Mrs Halawi.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Legal Centre, said:

“The circumstances of Nohad’s dismissal have got to be challenged. In order for this to happen we need a recognition from the judge that she has employment rights.

“Although at this point we are only dealing with the issue of employment rights, there are bigger issues on the horizon. There is a deference shown to Muslims in the workplace which is not shown to Christians.

“Nohad was effectively dismissed on the basis of false claims against her which were not properly dealt with or investigated. The nature of the accusations also suggests that there is a security risk at Heathrow – one of the biggest ports of entry into the UK. The case needs to progress so that these issues can be dealt with.”

ENDS.

For further information / interview:
Andrea Minichiello Williams - 07712 591 164

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