Imagine that after working at the same place for over 10 years, one of your colleagues started spreading rumours about your conduct.
The rumours weren’t true but they came to the attention of your managers. They didn’t properly investigate the nature of the claims against you and ignored your side of the story.
But they ended up dismissing you on the basis of those false claims about your conduct.
This is essentially what happened to former Heathrow airport worker Nohad Halawi.
When she complimented a colleague that he was a “man of God”, this was misheard by a Muslim colleague to be a criticism of Islam. Even though this issue was resolved by her manager, another Muslim colleague started spreading rumours that Nohad was “anti-Islam”.
Her managers ignored her side of the story and ended up withdrawing her airside pass, which meant she couldn’t work at the airport anymore. Seeing the injustice, many of Nohad's colleagues - including some Muslims - even signed a petition protesting her dismissal.
The path to justice
But when Nohad tried to challenge this injustice back in June 2012, the judge at the Employment Tribunal said that she wasn’t technically employed. This meant she didn’t have any employment rights, even though her work was controlled by two companies! So, the nature of her dismissal went unchallenged and she wasn’t allowed to go back to work at Heathrow.
This has put an extra step in the path towards justice. Now Nohad needs an Employment Appeal Tribunal to rule that she does have employment rights before the false accusations against her can be exposed for what they are.
The fear of appearing “Islamophobic” means that claims like the ones Nohad’s collegaues made against her go uncontested. This deference towards Islam is becoming more common and needs to be addressed.
But to begin with, we need to complete that first step: establishing that Nohad does have employment rights. That’s why we’re supporting Nohad tomorrow as her case goes before the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Can you help Nohad complete this important first step? A one-off donation will help her on her way to securing what we pray will be a just outcome. Just click the button below to go to our online donation page:
At Christian Legal Centre we’re standing with Nohad because we believe her case is significant not just for her but for the workplace more generally. Will you join us in supporting her?
Andrea Minichiello Williams
Director, Christian Legal Centre
P.S. You can give any amount you choose on our online donation page. We are very thankful for any amount that you’re able to give.
5 October 2013
Christian Concern-One woman’s search for justice:
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