ACTING Bishop of Blackburn John Goddard has welcomed the European Court decision that a Brit-ish Airways employee suffered discrimination over her Christian beliefs because she wore a cross to work.

The Bishop of Burnley spoke out after the judges ruled that there had been a violation of the human rights of Nadia Eweida.

She took her case to the European Court of Human Rights after BA made her stop wearing a white gold necklace with a cross. However the judges ruled that the rights of three other Christians had not been violated.

The other cases involved nurse Shirley Chaplin, 57, also stopped wearing a cross to work, Gary McFarlane, 51 — a marriage counsellor fired for objecting to giving sex therapy advice to gay couples — and registrar Lillian Ladele, who refused to conduct same-sex civil partnerships.

The Rt Rev Goddard said: “I am pleased Nadia Eweida’s rights have been upheld.

“The wearing of religious symbols is important for Christians and many people of faith and, where approached sensitively and with goodwill, doesn't need to become a legal battleground.

“Christians and those of other faiths should be free to wear the symbols of their own religion without discrimination. Like the hijab for Muslims, Christians are not obliged to wear a cross but should be able to where it is practical and acceptable.

“The other three cases which have not been upheld by the European Court of Human Rights are each very different.

“In responding to these rulings I would simply say that the Equality Act 2010 encourages employers to embrace diversity, including people of faith.”