A small victory for the idea that workers should be treated equally and held to a uniform set of expectations, with none “more equal” than others. An update on this story. “Muslim worker loses out in Tesco booze bid,” from the Evening Telegraph, October 29 (thanks to Eleutheria Â´H Thanatos):
A DERBY Muslim who sued Tesco for religious discrimination after he was asked to handle crates of alcohol has lost his case.
Mohammed Ahmed, who worked in a warehouse, said the job was against his Islamic beliefs.
The 32-year-old, of Upper Dale Road, Normanton, also accused Tesco of victimisation and harassment during a three-day employment tribunal in Birmingham.
His job at the supermarket giant’s Lichfield depot involved the transportation of various goods, including alcoholic drinks, on fork-lift trucks.
The Saudi Arabian national told the tribunal he was not informed that he would be handling alcohol when he started the job last year.
He said he was considering appealing against the decision after being told his legal action had failed.
He said: “It’s not fair but what can I do? They [Tesco] were not taking into account my religious beliefs. I will consult with solicitors.”
The situation came to a head before Christmas last year, when more alcohol was ferried to the Tesco warehouse in preparation for the festive season.
Mr Ahmed told the tribunal that he was not made aware he would be required to handle alcohol when he started the job, a claim denied by Tesco.
He also said he had not visited any of Derby’s three Tesco stores and was unaware alcohol was served by the shop. He admitted, however, that he had been to Sainsbury’s, Asda and Lidl stores.
He refused to touch alcohol because it was against his religious principles as a Muslim, he said, and asked to be found other work.
He told the tribunal that Tesco failed to co-operate and alleged he was told by a supervisor, “You do the job or go home”, a claim also denied by the store.
Mr Ahmed, who moved to Derby in 2006, complained to Tesco but claimed he was treated unfairly as a result. After eight months working for the company, he left in protest.
Speaking after the three-day tribunal in Birmingham, he had said: “It’s in our religion that we are not allowed to handle alcohol. In the UK there’s equal opportunities that should protect me and my beliefs.”
Tesco said Mr Ahmed was made aware during his employment induction course that he would be handling alcohol, and that every effort was made to find him an alternative role in the warehouse.