Christian believers now allowed to wear crosses, religious symbols at work in new government guidelines

The U.K. government, through its Equalities minister Victoria Atkins, has issued new guidelines protecting the rights of religious believers when it comes to wearing religious symbols to work. Christians, in particular, can now wear crosses and other faith symbols at the office, without any consequences.

Wikimedia Commons/Lorie ShaullA woman addressing the crowd outside the Governors Mansion wears a cross necklace.

The guideline have been set to curb down religious intolerance. Companies that do not follow the government's directive could be fined or told to compensate its workers.

"Discrimination in the workplace is not only completely unacceptable but also against the law," Atkins said. "We live in an integrated and cohesive society with a proud tradition of religious tolerance and I want to see that reflected in workplaces across the country."

Atkins also said that as long as the preference of religious workers do not affect what they do, they should be allowed to carry on as usual. Employers must also allow the workers to have their say in any proposed dress codes at work based on the guidelines that the Government Equalities Office set.

The Church of England commended the decision as sensible. "Freedom of expression continues to be an important British value," a spokesperson for the Church told reporters.

The guideline comes five years after Nadia Eweida, a British Airways staff member, won a lawsuit against the airline after being asked to hide her crufifix necklace at work.

Eweida, a Coptic Christian, lodged her complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which stated that British Airways violated Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. She received $2179 (£1,600) and $34,000 (£25,000) in compensation for costs and damages.