London, England, Apr 6, 2010 / 22:46 pm America/Denver (CNA).
A Christian nurse in Britain lost a discrimination claim on Tuesday after fighting a policy that barred her from wearing her crucifix to work.
Shirley Chaplin, 54, was told by the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital last year that the crucifix she has worn for almost 40 years on the job without incident needed to be removed for “health and safety reasons.”
Chaplin refused to comply and consequently took the hospital to an Employment Tribunal which ruled on Tuesday that Chaplin is not facing discrimination, as it asserted that all employees are treated equally. Under the Trust's current uniform policy, however, one can wear a hijab for religious reasons but not a cross.
The NHS Trust argued that the crucifix and and chain could cause Chaplin or others harm if a patient caught hold of it, yet the nurse's offer to have a metal clasp inserted on her chain so it could easily be removed in such situations was rejected. The Trust suggested that the nurse wear cross earrings or “hide” the crucifix by pinning it on the inside of her uniform pocket.
Chaplin has worn the crucifix, a gift, since her confirmation in 1971. She intends to appeal Tribunal's ruling.