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Christian factory worker fired on the spot for refusing to take the necklace off

Christian factory worker fired on the spot for refusing to take the necklace off

2 Sister Plant at Cooper Angus, where Jevgenij Kovalkov worked

2 Sister Plant at Cooper Angus, where Jevgenij Kovalkov worked

A Christian factory worker who was fired for refusing to be crucified has won more than £22,000 for religious discrimination.

Jevgenijs Kovalkovs said that wearing the cross, which was a gift from his mother, close to the chest, symbolized his “commitment to his faith”.

However, he was asked to remove it by his line manager, as he felt it was a “hazard” to the chicken wholesalers where he worked, an employment tribunal heard.

Mr Kovalkovs, a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, was later seen wearing it again at the factory, but refused to take off the jewelry, which had “deeper and deeper meaning” to him.

After this, he was dismissed on the spot for disobeying the order. They sued the company after the Tribunal found the policy and has now been awarded £22,074.68 and that its application was “indirectly discriminatory”.

Employment terminated ‘immediately’

The hearing was informed that Mr Kovalkov joined 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd in Cooper Angus, Scotland, in November 2019 and was quickly promoted to the role of quality inspector.

Hearings held in Dundee heard that Mr Kovalkov wore a silver necklace containing 30 short links each day and that it was consecrated during a baptism ceremony for his God Child.

However, the company’s foreign body control policy states: “With the exception of single plan band rings, jewelery should not be worn in on-site production areas.”

Another exception was made for religious ornaments subject to “risk assessment”, the panel heard.

On the first day of her promotion in December 2019, her line manager, who was named only as Ms McCall in the tribunal’s decision, saw the defeat and asked her to pull it off, which she did.

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However, it did not conduct a risk assessment as it felt that the issue had been settled, the panel heard.

Mr Kovalkovs then complained of being bullied at work and was brought in for a meeting with another manager in January 2020, where he was wearing a necklace.

He was asked to remove it and then questioned whether a risk assessment had been done, which he said was not, was conveyed to the tribunal.

His line manager was said to be “embarrassed” that the issue had been raised with his own boss, but completed a risk assessment.

Before Mr Kovalkovs went back to work he was asked to speak with Ms McCall, who concluded it should be removed as it contains links and could entangle or become trapped, the hearing was told. .

After that he asked her to take it down. However, he refused and was sent to HR. He was told that his employment was terminated “immediately” since he had not followed the instructions of the management and was on his probationary period.

The panel found that his dismissal was “entirely” centered on the fact that Mr Kovalkov had not declared defeat during his induction course upon joining the firm.

Upholding his claims, Employment Judge Lewis Cowen concluded that it was clear that Mr Kovalkov had “lost his job as a result of discrimination against him”.

She continued: “Her religion and wearing her necklace had a deeper and deeper meaning for her.”

In 2013, a British Airways employee Won a historic legal battle for crucifixion at work,

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Nadia Iveda wins her case against British Airways - UE Mock/PA Wire

Nadia Iveda wins her case against British Airways – UE Mock/PA Wire

Nadia Iveda took her case to the European Court of Human Rights after Bea told her to stop wearing her white gold cross “apparently”.

The court ruled that her rights under Article Nine of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated.

2 Sisters Food Group has been contacted for comment.

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