Unholy row leads to a landmark ruling

Tesco Distribution Centre at Crick
Tesco Distribution Centre at Crick
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Two Tesco employees at the Crick distribution centre were indirectly discriminated against because of restricted access to prayer facilities at their depot, a tribunal has ruled.

Abdirisak Aden and Mahamed Hasan, both aged 27 and from Northampton, were among a number of devout Muslim employees who lobbied from 2006 onwards for a room to pray in at set times each day.

They were granted the use of a security room in 2008 but in 2012 they were set restrictions including that they must tell managers when they were going to pray and must ask for a key for the room.

The Bedford Employment Tribunal found Tesco had committed 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, said the decision of the tribunal was a landmark 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 that 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.”

NREC said both the men had made it clear to their employer that they needed to pray at set times in a clean environment.

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.”