A Christian factory worker in Scotland has won over $26,000 in a religious discrimination suit after he was fired from his job for refusing to remove his cross necklace.
According to The Telegraph, Jevgenijs Kovalkovs was fired from chicken wholesalers 2 Sisters Food Group Limited in Coupar Angus for refusing to take off a silver necklace, which held a "deep and profound meaning" to him.
Kovalkovs, a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, was initially hired by his employer in November 2019 and was promoted to quality inspector. The necklace he wore had 30 small links, representing each day that it had been sanctified during his godchild's baptism ceremony.
According to company policy, employees are forbidden from wearing jewelry "in the production areas on-site" unless it's a single plain band ring. The policy also made an exception for religious jewelry once it underwent a risk assessment.
Kovalkovs' line manager, however, told the Christian worker to remove the necklace despite not conducting the risk assessment. The line manager, who was named in the tribunal judgment as just Ms. McColl, did not do the assessment because she thought that matter had already been dealt with.
As reported by The Christian Post, Kovalkovs ultimately refused to take off the necklace despite initially removing it at McColl's request. He also issued a complaint about being bullied in the workplace and met with another manager in January 2020, where he wore the necklace.
McColl reportedly felt "embarrassed" that the issue was raised to her boss but eventually completed the risk assessment. Nevertheless, the line manager continued to tell Kovalkovs to take off the necklace because the links could be entangled or trapped.
Kovalkovs, however, refused and was sent to HR, where he was informed that he was terminated for not complying with the company's instructions.
A panel noted that Kovalkovs dismissal was based "entirely" on the fact he did not declare the necklace during the induction course when he first joined the company.
In a ruling by Employment Judge Louise Cowen, it was evident that it concluded that Kovalkovs "had lost a job as a result of the discrimination towards him."
"His religion and the wearing of his necklace were of deep and profound meaning to him," she added.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.