Christian employee wins discrimination claim against Muslim bosses

A Christian employee has been awarded more than £2,550 in compensation after it was found that his Muslim employers discriminated against him because he was white and a Christian.

Christopher Turton worked at the National Halal Food Group in Birmingham, and was one of only two white employees at the company. The company supplied supermarkets with meat which had been prepared in accordance with Islamic Sharia Law.

An Employment Tribunal heard that after Mr Turton had been promoted, he came across an email which, in questioning the promotion, asked “is it because he is white?” The email had been sent from an employee of the firm to a self-employed worker and had also pointed out that Mr Turton was not a “Muslim brother”. The email also suggested that Mr Turton had been employed as a trophy white employee to impress customers.

Mr Turton brought a claim against the Halal Food Group for race and religious discrimination, and won on both counts.

It transpired that during his time with the firm, Mr Turton had introduced a number of changes which were not welcomed by a number of his colleagues. The employer’s solicitors were keen to stress at the Tribunal that the management had disapproved of the email, and, had arranged a face to face meeting with those involved and had issued an apology.

Tribunal Judge Victoria Dean heard that Mr Turton found the email to be “extremely offensive”, had caused him to sign off work with stress and eventually resign.

Interestingly, the Judge had initially awarded the Claimant the sum of £3,000 but this was reduced to £2,550 had failed, at the time, to raise an official grievance with his employer.

Recommendations were made by the Tribunal to the Halal Food Group that equal opportunities policies should be disseminated to the workforce and team leaders within a period of 6 months.