It is a widely spread custom in Middle Europe to wear a cross or a medal of the Holy Virgin as a jewel. The ban of it would not only get rid of a reminder that Europa has Christianity as her cultural root, but would also have a great impact on the tradition and custom of the region. Thank God there is still some common sense around. Here is the story:
LOT airlines to ban staff wearing the cross?
From The News.pl, 10.02.2012 14:42
Conservative MPs in Poland have complained to the national airline LOT that banning staff wearing the Roman Catholic cross on flights is “discriminatory” and “unconstitutional”.
From 1 March, LOT flight attendants will not be allowed to display religious symbols at work.
A statement on the airline’s web site says that “staff are not allowed to wear jewellery in a conspicuous place which shows a religious symbol.”
For opposition Law and Justice (PiS) MPs Anna Sobecka and Jolanta Szczypińska, however, the move is against the Polish Constitution.
“Such actions discriminate against Catholics in the area of public life and threaten fundamental rights guaranteed by art. 31 of the Polish Constitution, which says that everyone is obliged to respect the freedoms and rights of others,” the MPs write in a letter addressed to the management board of LOT Polish airlines.
Former minister of transport and Law and Justice MP Jerzy Polaczek, told the right-wing Gazeta Polska daily: “This scandalous decision […] is an interference in the freedom of religion”.
But spokesman for LOT airlines, Leszek Chorzewski, said that the ban includes all religious symbols, and not just the cross.
“The rules apply to all symbols, including, for example, the Star of David,” he said.
He added that the airline carries many thousands of passengers of different faiths each year, and that LOT wants to avoid offence and “unexpected reactions”.
Conservative MPs Anna Sobecka and Jolanta Szczypińska complain, though, that basic religious freedoms are attacked by the move, in the name of “political correctness.”
The MPs point to a similar case in the UK, when British Airways was forced to end a ban on staff wearing religious symbols.
In 2006, British Airways employee Nadia Eweida was sent home from work after she refused to abide by her employer’s then dress code, which required employees to keep religious symbols covered.
Eweida was able to return to work in 2007 when BA changed its uniform policy, after the woman received support from the then UK prime minister Tony Blair, who has since converted to Catholicism. (pg)
Now the Airline reacts with an apology:
LOT Polish Airlines. Declaration in respect of the company’s alleged ban on the wearing of religious symbols by its personnel
To the media, the staff of LOT Polish Airlines and the general public,
With regard to the reports in the media concerning the alleged ban on the wearing of religious symbols by the staff of LOT Polish Airlines, we would like to make it absolutely clear that the company’s intention, as an employer, in introducing the regulation in question into its internal instructions pertaining to the uniform code for our cabin crew has been perversely twisted and that the entire affair has been exaggerated out of all proportion.
We wish to reiterate, categorically, that the intention of the regulation from our internal rules for flight attendants around which the controversy in centred, was an expression of neither the desire nor design on the part of the employer to limit, in any way whatsoever, the freedom of the staff to profess or demonstrate their religious beliefs..
At the same time, we would like to offer our sincere apologies to all those whom this matter has either affected or offended, howsoever this might have been. Respecting, as we do, Polish sensitivities and the attachment of our compatriots to our traditions, we do, indeed, understand their perturbation and indignation.
We would also like to announce that, with the foregoing in mind, the company, in its role as employer, has decided that the regulation around which the controversy is centred will be withdrawn from the instructions, which come into force on 1st March this year.
LOT Polish Airlines S.A.