Kapil and Mahamed are both 27 and started working at Tesco Distribution Centre in Daventry seven years ago as Flexible Warehouse Colleagues. Both are devout Muslims and made it clear to their employer that they needed to pray at set times in a clean environment. On their shift there were nineteen other Muslim workers in addition to other Muslim workers on other shifts. Tesco managers were aware of the difficulties Muslim employees faced whilst trying to pray with no place allocated for them to do this. After several years of complaints, Tesco management provided a security room for the use of prayer. This room was used by both Muslims and for employees of other faiths. After four years of Muslim workers using the prayer room in 2012 Tesco’s mangers introduced specific guidelines on how the prayer room should be used by Muslim staff. These Prayer Time guidelines required the room to be locked and had specific guidelines for Muslim employees being required to request the key to use the room, they were asked to fill in a book when they used the room, they were required to inform mangers that they were going to pray, and they were only allowed to pray as individuals rather than as a group.
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. These guidelines were not in force for workers of other faiths. When Kapil had complained about the introduction of the guideline, he was told by one manager that “the prayer time guidelines would be implemented whether he liked it or not.”
Kapil and Mahamed approached Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council for help and their caseworker Christopher Fray, assisted them in putting forward an application to the employment tribunal. The case was heard at Bedford Employment Tribunal. Christopher Fray represented Kapil and Mahamed on behalf of Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council at the 4 day hearing which took place between the 29 August 2013 – 3 September 2013
Bedford Employment Tribunal upheld their claims and found that they were discriminated and harassed on the grounds of their religion.
Christopher Fray commented,
“This case is a victory not only for Muslims, but for people of all faiths who wish to be treated equally in their workplace and wish to actively practice their faith whilst at work. The case is one of the first religious discrimination cases that Muslims have won using religious discrimination legislation in Britain”,
Both men received an undisclosed settlement for injury to feelings.
Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council exists to enable people to challenge discrimination, prejudice and injustice in order to achieve fair and just treatment and/or an acceptable and just remedy for the discrimination suffered across the whole County of Northamptonshire.
Anyone who feels that they require similar support to Mr Aden and Hasan should contact Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council on 01604 400808 or email email@example.com.
The names of the respondents have been changed to protect their identities.
Tel 01604 400808 Fax 01604 400813 firstname.lastname@example.org