A mother-of-two claims she was ordered her to remove her crucifix by her former employee, Qantas – and now she’s suing.
Georgina Sarikoudis, a former customer service worker for the airline, claims she was told to “cut off” her prayer bead bracelets and remove her crucifix necklace while working for the airline last year and earlier this year, the Daily Mail reports.
She believes that move is discriminatory because her colleagues were permitted to navy or black headscarves for religious, cultural or medical purposes.
The woman — a member of the Greek Orthodox Church — said she refused to take off or hide the items of jewellery despite months of “bullying”, according to The Herald Sun.
“For Christians, this is our uniform. Everyone should be allowed to manifest their religion as they see fit,” Mrs Sarikoudis said in documents filed in the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal (VCAT).
“I was gutted,” she told 7News.
She said she was told she needed to remove her crucifix because it was an item of “jewellery”.
“I said it’s actually not, it’s actually of religious significance,” she said. “It’s sad… it’s actually sad.”
Ms Sarikoudis, who worked for the airline company for 19 years, said she was confronted about her crucifix after Qantas changed its uniforms late last year; while it seems the policy on religious jewellery didn’t change then, staff were reminded of the existing guidelines.
The Melbourne woman accepted a redundancy offer in May.
But a Qantas spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia employees were permitted to wear religious jewellery.
“Our uniform standards don’t prohibit employees from wearing religious jewellery,” the spokesperson said. “Many of our employees wear such jewellery every day, it’s simply worn under their uniform.
“We give our employees plenty of options so they can continue to wear religious jewellery that is in accordance with the requirement of their faith.”