Electrician can keep cross in company van

A Christian electrician who feared disciplinary action for putting a palm cross in his company van has been allowed to keep the religious symbol.
Colin Atkinson, 64, who works for Wakefield and District Housing (WDH), displayed the cross on the van’s dashboard.

WDH started an investigation following a complaint from a tenant.

It said he had failed to comply with company policy, which bans employees from displaying personal items in vans.

In a statement released by the Christian Legal Centre, Mr Atkinson, who has worked for WDH for 15 years, said: “I am delighted that my employers have recognised my right to express my Christian faith by the quiet witness of displaying a small palm cross in my van.
‘Not about religion’

“There are millions of people who wear a cross around their neck to bring the reassurance and comfort and to me, it’s a constantly reminder of God’s love for us and how we should love and serve others – regardless of their faith or none.”

WDH asked Mr Atkinson to remove the 8ins (23cm) cross and started an investigation after a tenant complained about it.

Earlier this month, Gillian Pickersgill, executive director of people at WDH, said: “Wakefield and District Housing is extremely disappointed and surprised with the misrepresentation of this issue.

“It is not about religion – it’s simply about employees not displaying personal items in company vehicles.”

“Mr Atkinson has failed to mention that it is permissible for WDH employees, including himself, to display religious artefacts and other personal possessions on their desks and themselves.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “This case shows what can happen when Christians refuse to give in to threats of intimidation and, when faced with a calm rationale by Christians, many right-minded employers will see sense.”