A Christian factory worker in Scotland has been awarded more than £22,000 after being fired on the spot for refusing to remove his crucifix necklace.
Jevgenijs Kovalkovs is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church and refused to remove his jewellery due to his religious beliefs.
He had received the necklace from his mother. The sentimental piece had been sanctified during the baptism of his godson.
The factory had a blanket-ban on jewellery, aside from a single band ring, because owners believed it posed a “hazard”.
However, some exemptions were made for religious jewellery.
When he refused to remove his necklace, due to its “deep and profound meaning”, he was instantly fired by his line manager.
Kovalkovs then sued 2 Sisters Food Group Limited, based in Coupar Angus, Scotland, for discrimination.
Back in November 2019, after being promoted to quality inspector, Kovalkovs was asked to remove the necklace, which he initially did.
His line manager told the courts that she did not complete a risk assessment for the item of jewellery because she believed the matter had been dealt with.
However, two months after assuming the role, the manager noticed he was wearing his necklace again.
He was then told to remove it, for a second time, but at that point he refused.
He was told that he should have informed the company of his intentions to wear the necklace during his induction.
As he was on a probation period, his employment was immediately terminated.
The company was found to have been “indirectly discriminatory” and was forced to pay Kovalkovs £22,074.68.
Giving her verdict, Judge Louise Cowen said: “It was clear to us that the claimant had lost a job as a result of the discrimination towards him.
“His religion and the wearing of his necklace were of deep and profound meaning to him.”
Premier has contacted 2 Sisters Food Group Limited and await a response.