UK Employee Suspended Upon Display of Cross

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: August 20, 2011

A UK Christian electrician who won a fight with his employer over his right to display a small Palm leaf cross in his van is now saying that the company has reneged on its agreement. 64-year-old Colin Atkinson was asked by his employers, Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) in West Yorkshire, to remove the cross after an anonymous complaint from a WDH tenant. The company threatened Atkinson with disciplinary action when he refused, but backed down when their threats prompted a public outcry and criticism from prominent religious leaders, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey.

UK media has covered the story in April 2011, which made Mr. Atkinson a symbol of the rights of Christians to express themselves in the public square, even if this meant to display a cross. “It brings me peace and strength. It is a central part of who I am and I can’t hide it away,” said Mr. Atkinson. On April 20th and after nationwide coverage and intensive negotiations, Atkinson was permitted to keep the cross, but his contract was reneged in August 2011.  Atkinson says he was asked to stay home after lodging a grievance procedure against the company for breaching its agreement. “My bosses have now offered me a pay-off to retire early but a condition is that I, my wife Geraldine and all my family would be prevented from speaking out publicly. That is not my style. It would be breaching my human rights,” he said.

Read more:

Articles during the course of the process: