Oct 3 2013
Muslim supermarket workers win discrimination case against Tesco after bosses locked their prayer room and made them sign in/out when they left to pray.
Daily Mail (h/t Maria J) Two Muslim Tesco workers have won a discrimination case against the supermarket after bosses kept their prayer room locked. Abdirisak Aden and Mahamed Hasan, both aged 27, were among a number of devout Muslim employees who had lobbied for a prayer room since 2006.
In 2008 managers agreed to set aside a security office at the distribution depot in Crick, Northamptonshire, as a prayer room for Muslims. But in 2012 bosses set new restrictions on the use of the room which included keeping it locked when it was not in use.
Muslim workers were forced to tell managers when they were going to pray and had to ask for the key and fill in their names in a book every time they entered the room. They also claimed they were forbidden to worship in groups and were only allowed to pray one at a time.
Mr Aden and Mr Hasan took the supermarket giant to a tribunal claiming discrimination on the grounds of their religion. Bedford Employment Tribunal found Tesco was guilty of indirect discrimination and awarded the men an undisclosed sum for ‘injury to their feelings’.
Christopher Fray, equality officer for the Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council (NREC), which represented the men at the hearing which ended on September 3, heralded the ruling.
He said: ‘A large number of Muslims complained that the nature of these prayer guidelines were being used as a way of controlling and monitoring and harassing them.
‘The Bedford Employment Tribunal upheld their claims and found they were discriminated against on the grounds of their religion. ‘This case is a victory not only for Muslims, but for all people who wish to pray while at work. ‘It is one of the first religious discrimination cases that Muslim complainants have won in Britain.’
The tribunal heard both men had made it clear to their bosses that they needed to pray at set times in a clean environment. They claimed that Tesco managers were aware of the difficulties Muslim employees faced while trying to pray with no place allocated for them to do this.
A Tesco spokesman said: ‘We take our responsibilities as an equal opportunities employer very seriously. ‘We are considering the implications of the judge’s ruling and await the full written judgment.’