Tribunal rejects claim man was unfairly sacked by Wigan firm due to his religion

An employment tribunal has dismissed claims that a Wigan firm sacked a cleaner because of his religious beliefs.
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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 firm has its headquarters in Goose Green but the incident took place at The Light shopping centre in Leeds.

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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.

The Oltec headquarters in Goose GreenThe Oltec headquarters in Goose Green
The Oltec headquarters in Goose Green

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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