European judges deny appeals by christians

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Three British christians who claimed their religious rights were violated by employers were told by European judges yesterday that they could take their rejected cases no further.

Shirley Chaplin, Gary McFarlane and Lillian Ladele saw their discrimination claims rejected by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg earlier this year.

Mrs Chaplin was switched to a desk job after she refused to take off a crucifix which hung round her neck, while Miss Ladele was disciplined by Islington council for refusing to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.

Mr McFarlane was dismissed from his role with the charity Relate after indicating he might have a conscientious objection to providing therapy to a same-sex couple.

The claimants attempted to take their appeals to the Grand Chamber of the Court but the judges have rejected their request.

Mrs Chaplin’s claims were rejected on the grounds that the removal of her necklace was necessary to protect the health and safety of nurses and patients.

Appeals by Miss Ladele and Mr McFarlane were dismissed on the grounds that disciplinary proceedings against them were justified.