A Muslim waitress who was told she could not bring halal meat to work and to eat non-halal meat including pork instead has succeeded in bringing a case of religious discrimination against her employer.
The young waitress began working in the restaurant in October 2013. A few months into her employment the owners of the restaurant began subjecting her to regular and repeated verbal abuse – the outbursts were apparently sparked by negative media coverage of Muslims.
She was called a terrorist and a member of ISIS/ISIL, subjected to insulting comments about Allah (God) and the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims were referred to as ‘bedouins’ and it was claimed that all Muslims are fanatics and forced people to convert to Islam.
The waitress was also told that she could not eat or bring halal meat to the accommodation arranged by the employer, and that she must eat the meat which the employers provided; in particular she was told to eat pork. To aggravate her grievances the abuse was perpetrated in front of other staff.
She protested on a number of occasions, but was told in no uncertain terms that as the owners and managers of the restaurant, they could say and do as they pleased. If she objected, she would be dismissed.
As the only Muslim worker, the employee felt unsafe. However, because she lived in accommodation provided by her employers and fearing homelessness, she endured the abuse for far longer than she should have.
In October 2014, she contacted IHRC Legal who agreed to take up her case. She issued a claim with financial support from the IHRC Legal Fund.
IHRC Legal was able to challenge the unlawful behavior of the employer and secure a substantial five figure settlement for injury to feelings and unlawful deduction of wages.
IHRC Legal was established last year and specialises in discrimination law, unfair dismissal, breach of contract and wrongful dismissal claims, unlawful deduction of wages, grievances, support during disciplinary and investigatory proceedings as well as representation at the Employment Tribunal.
IHRC has introduced a Legal Defence Fund to support those wishing to pursue their legal rights. The fund is the first of its kind to be set up by a Muslim charity in the UK and will be used to support IHRC Legal clients in paying for some of the costs incurred when pursuing employment and discrimination cases.
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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222