Tribunal rejects claim man was unfairly sacked by Wigan firm due to his religion
and live on Freeview channel 276
Oltec Group Trading, which provides outsourced facilities management services such as housekeeping, was the subject of a complaint from Mr M Kaba, who alleged his former employer had discriminated against him on religious grounds before he was suspended from his duties in May 2019.
The claimant was suspended, and later sacked, following a row over break times during the month of Ramadan, which Mr Kaba was observing as a Muslim.
Two claims of religious discrimination and religion-related harassment were lodged against Oltec.
An employment tribunal panel in Leeds found he had suffered “unwanted conduct” from his bosses but that such conduct “was not related to the claimant’s religion.”
The tribunal heard that at the time of the allegations in May 2019, Mr Kaba was observing Ramadan and was fasting between 3am and 9pm each day.
He and his boss Mrs Spencer had discussed his fasting for Ramadan on May 6, 2019 and whether he could take his breaks at 9pm during Ramadan.
But there was “a misunderstanding” between Mr Kaba and Mrs Spencer about whether he had asked to change his break arrangements for one day only, on May 6, or for the entirety of Ramadan.
The confusion resulted in him arriving for future shifts to find that his breaks has been scheduled for him at 7.30pm but he continued to take his breaks after 9pm.
Further confusion arose over a day’s leave which Mr Kaba had asked to take for a dentist’s appointment on May 16, but his shift was not covered.
Witnesses say there was then a heated row between Mr Kaba and Mrs Spencer on May 22, when his break was again scheduled for him at 7.30pm.
It was his view that Mrs Spencer had purposely scheduled his breaks at this time as a punishment for the misunderstanding over his day off to go to the dentist.
It was following this argument, which saw both parties raise their voices at one another, that Mr Kaba was suspended and later told he could no longer work at the Light centre because Mrs Spencer felt she could no longer work with him.
He was offered a new role at another centre in Wakefield but did not accept that, and his employment was terminated in July.
His subsequent claims of religious discrimination were dismissed after the tribunal found that, although Mr Kaba “did experience unwanted conduct,” he was not treated less favourably than he would have if he was not Muslim.
The full report can be viewed at gov.uk.
A message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:
Thank you for reading this story on our website.
But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy when you pop out for your essential shop or subscribing for delivery.
Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.
As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: "Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role."
But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.
We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE:
You can subscribe for delivery by contacting us at [email protected] or calling us on 0330 4033004 for details of a participating newsagent near you.