Muslim employees win “landmark” religious discrimination Employment Tribunal case

hmctsTwo Muslim men working for Tesco have won their claim for religious discrimination in the Employment Tribunal, according to the National Secular Society.

The two men made their Employment Tribunal claim after restrictions were placed on the use of the prayer room at Tesco’s Crick depot in Bedfordshire. The room – which had been provided to employees after lobbying from a group of religious employees in 2008 – was used by all denominations but new guidelines were introduced in 2012 whereby employees had to inform managers that they wished to use the room and ask for the key, as well as ‘signing in’ using a book in the room. Further, employees were only allowed to pray individually rather than as a group. The two Muslim men objected to this and filed a claim for indirect discrimination in the Employment Tribunal.

The Bedford Employment Tribunal heard the two men’s claim last week and ruled in their favour, finding that they had been victims of indirect discrimination. The two men were awarded an undisclosed sum for injury to feelings.

Mr Christopher Fray, equality officer for the Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council, said after the ruling: “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.”

Tesco stated: “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.”

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the ruling: “There appears to have been some comment that this is the one of the first religious discrimination cases that Muslim complainants have won in the Employment Tribunal. We will have to wait and see what the implications of this ruling are for future cases.”