ASDA need to adhere to the Equality Act 2010 and challenge the behaviour of their managers and educate them to follow their own policies after this case says GMB London

GMB London, the union for ASDA staff, has called on ASDA to educate its managers to understand, follow and implement its own policies on discrimination after a complaint of anti semitism against a manager at the Dagenham store was upheld.

This follows ASDA’s manager making discriminatory Anti-Semitic comments towards an ASDA worker and imposing a contract change forcing the colleague to work on the Jewish Sabbath – Day of Rest.

The ASDA worker who wishes to remain anonymous was questioned by two senior store managers in ASDA Dagenham as to the reasons she could not work Saturdays.

The matter was referred to the store manager. Unfortunately, nothing came of the conversation with the store manager.The ASDA worker was informed that the managers were only following company guidance.

The member raised a grievance on the issue. The outcome to her grievance confirmed that the allegation of ASDA management discriminating against her based upon her religion had been substantiated.

The grievance manager is suggesting that a mediation – (Informal Chat) with the said managers should be undertaken. This is far short of what it should do in line with ASDA policies.

Keith Dixon, GMB Regional Organiser said

This is another example of ASDA’s discrimination against those working for the business. 

“ASDA do have robust policies relating to discrimination and supporting those who have disabilities.  Unfortunately, ASDA need to start to read and ensure that managers understand and follow those policies. 

“They should pay heed to the details of what happened in the Dagenham store. When this issue was raised by the managers  they were advised by the distraught member that she visits the synagogue on a Saturday. 

“The response of the managers was that because she had opted out of Sunday working and Sunday is not a religious day for her she could work Sundays instead.  This ignores the fact that all retail workers have the option to opt out of Sunday working under the Sunday Trading Act 1994.The ASDA worker had opted out of Sunday working over 20 years ago.

“After 20 minutes of the managers questioning the colleague upon her religion the ASDA worker along with her GMB Representative immediately left the meeting room and sought to speak with the Store manager to highlight the discrimination and anti-Semitic comments.

“Unfortunately, nothing came of the conversation with the store manager.

“The ASDA worker was informed that the managers were only following company guidance.

“If a store manager believes company guidance is to allow managers to make Anti-Semitic comments towards Jewish employees ASDA should be ashamed of how badly it’s managers understand it’s own policies.”

The GMB member raised a grievance due to the discrimination and anti-Semitic comments.

This member has dedicated 30 years of service with ASDA. She said in her statement to the appeal manager:

I have never felt so upset like this in any of my jobs in 50 years of working, especially because of my religion or my belief. I felt like I was being victimised or discriminated against because of being Jewish which is very upsetting

The outcome to her grievance confirmed that the allegation of ASDA management discriminating against her based upon her religion has been substantiated.  The grievance manager is suggesting that a mediation – (Informal Chat) with the said managers should be undertaken.

GMB London feel this response is inadequate.  Keith Dixon continues:

“GMB London feel that the company need to take this matter much more seriously as the two managers denied discrimination or making any anti-Semitic comments. ASDA should do the right thing and apologise for their managers discriminating and making anti-Semitic comments towards their workforce.

“The member kept her religion to herself for all the years she worked for ASDA due to a fear of anti-Semitism, it is unacceptable for ASDA to allow any manager to believe they can discriminate against a worker and not be held accountable.

“GMB has seen a rapid decline in the way in which ASDA colleagues are treated. There is no consideration for a colleague’s learning disabilities, mental health, disability, religion, or belief. Discrimination appears to be rife within ASDA.

“ASDA need to adhere to the Equality Act 2010 and start to challenge the behaviour of their management team and educate them to follow their own policies.”

 

Image credit: ASDA

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.