This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 23, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: British Airways check-in worker Nadia Eweida says she was suspended from work without pay because she chose to wear her cross necklace outside her company uniform.
Now British Airways issued us this statement, which reads in part: "Like many airlines, British Airways simply operates a uniform policy which has been in place for many years, and states that such items can be worn by its employees but underneath the uniform. British Airways would also like to stress that the employee in question has not been suspended. She has chosen to take voluntary, unpaid leave."
Joining us now in a "Hannity & Colmes" exclusive is Nadia Eweida and her attorney from the Center for Judeo-Christian Law and Ethics Paul Diamond.
All right. Why don't you tell your story. They did not fire you?
NADIA EWEIDA, BRITISH AIRWAYS EMPLOYEE: No, they haven't fired me at such. It started last May when they sent us on a training day. All the staff went on a training day for diversity for harassment and bullying.
HANNITY: We had one here so I wouldn't harass him [Alan Colmes] any more! — But in all seriousness, go ahead.
EWEIDA: We were encouraged to learn about each other's religions and cultural backgrounds to integrate, to understand each other, to give a better service for our passengers.
When I reported for duty the following day, I was asked to remove my cross because it did not conform to uniform standards. They classified it as jewelry. I then explained that my cross is important to me, because it symbolizes my Christian faith and I would like to have the opportunity to wear it, to display it for people to know that I'm a Christian.
My allocation duty manager was not happy with that. And the CSM — customer services manager — explained that this is company policy and it does not conform to uniform standards.
HANNITY: You know what, Nadia. What's so stunning to me is many people wear crosses.
EWEIDA: That's correct.
HANNITY: Star of David. You know, it's such a small thing. Your cross was not that big.
HANNITY: I'm thinking there comes a point where these policies are absurd. So now — so you cannot wear it, so as a result if you can't wear it you're not going to go to work. This is a principle issue for you.
EWEIDA: I can wear it. I'm very welcome to come back to work, provided...
HANNITY: You can wear it where you want to wear it?
EWEIDA: I have to have it hidden under my cravat, under my uniform.
HANNITY: But you refuse to do that.
EWEIDA: I'm refusing to do that on principle, because it has become an issue. If my colleagues of the Muslim faith are allowed to where their hijab...
HANNITY: And they are?
EWEIDA: When they are allowed to wear a hijab, where it clearly states in the Koran that they are not — they're not obliged to wear it. It's not obligatory. And also for my other colleagues who wear turbans and bangles.
I would like to say that the uniform standards booklet has been adjusted to accommodate the other religions.
HANNITY: So all those things have happened?
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey Paul, do you have any doubt that a mezuzah would be handled the same way?
PAUL DIAMOND, EWEIDA'S ATTORNEY: I think it probably would. I think it's a wide problem. This is just an example of a general hostility that's developing.
HANNITY: Not just antichristian because a mezuzah or any piece of jewelry.
DIAMOND: Judeo-Christian. That's the point. It's hostility to Judeo-Christian values. We have it in employment rights. Christians in particular denied employment rights, less so Jews because of guilt factor.
COLMES: I think it's silly, but if a Muslim had a star and crescent on a chain.
DIAMOND: That wouldn't at all. That wouldn't at all. There have been actually great protection, almost promotion of Islamic rights.
COLMES: But I would point out also you've got to wear that underneath the cravat. They would say that to any piece of jewelry like that, regardless of the religion?
DIAMOND: The answer, as far as I would gather, B.A.'s argument — I can't comment too much about it would be the more extravagant religious item is the more permissible it is. Which is obviously nonsense.
COLMES: They're claiming that whatever — as long as it's a piece of jewelry on a chain, regardless of the religion, if that's what it is, it's got to be worn under the cravat. That's what they're saying. And that applies to every piece of jewelry...
DIAMOND: I mean, what isn't acceptable is for a secular body to say, "We know your religion, and we're going to tell you what Islam means and tell you what Christianity means."
And if you excuse the pun, but talking generally as in this case, you can't avert uniform consistent uniform policy, what you can't say we have preferred groups and less preferred groups. I'm talking in general. This is actually a phenomenon throughout the whole...
COLMES: I'm not defending them. I'm saying their position is the chain and the jewelry, regardless of religion.
DIAMOND: I think — well...
COLMES: What do you want out of this? What do you want?
ELEIWA: Well, I understand — I understand perfectly well that they have classified the chain and the jewelry as religious apparel not acceptable. They must be aware that each religion and faith has its own way of expressing their faith.
COLMES: What do you want — what do you want the end result to be?
ELEIWA: The end result would be I would love British Airways to change their policy to allow Christians in their work force to display their face, be it the Star of David or be it the cross, because it symbolizes....
COLMES: You don't want money. You want your job back, as well?
ELEIWA: Definitely. I love British Airways, and I'm a good and conscientious employee for the past seven years. This has never come up.
HANNITY: Seems to be a double standard here, doesn't there? Which is often the case. Anyway, we wish you the best with your case. Thank you for being with us.
Thank you, sir, for being with us. Appreciate it.
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