A devout Satanist working at the check-in desk for British Airways has been banned from wearing items of clothing or jewellery that reveal her faith when she is dealing with members of the public.
Mrs Eileen Johnson, 43, has been a practicing Satanist for many years but has come into increasing confrontation with her bosses at British Airways who claim that the wearing of devil masks, pointy horns or a blood-soaked goat’s head trangressed their uniform policy and might offend customers of other faiths.
‘This is religious persecution; pure and simple’ said Mrs Eileen Johnson, who worked at British Airways’ Heathrow check-in desk. ‘Why is it all right for a Muslim to wear a jihab, or a Sikh to wear a turban, while people of my religion are told it’s not acceptable to wear a horned wolf-mask when dealing with customers?’
Mrs Johnson plans to take her case to an employment tribunal, claiming religious discrimination, but British Airways management were adamant that she would not be dealing with members of the public for the foreseeable future. ‘While we respect the individual faiths of our staff be they Christian, Muslim or er, devil worshippers, we have a policy that requires all employees to observe our uniform code,’ said a BA spokesman. ‘But it wasn’t just her appearance; Mrs Johnson was communicating her Satanic beliefs with anxious passengers prior to take off. She would say ‘Did you pack all the luggage yourself?’ And then mumble ‘You will die today and enter the kingdom of Lucifer’ or ‘Has your luggage been left unattended at anytime – your plane will burn like the fires of hell.’ We had a number of complaints…’
Mrs Johnson said she apologised if occasionally the depth of her religious convictions affected the way she dealt with the public. ‘When a Christian says ‘God Bless’, or a Hindu presses their palms together, that apparently is all right. But you poke ONE customer with a three-pronged fork and suddenly that’s unacceptable.’
She has since told British Airways that the member of staff who represents the employers in her tribunal will endure burning agony in hell for all eternity. The date for her appeal has been postponed twice as BA finalise which member of their HR staff will be dealing with the case.
21st November 2006