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Asda must implement its own discrimination policies, says GMB after anti-semitism complaint

RETAIL giant Asda has been told to implement its own discrimination policies after a worker complained of anti-semitic comments by managers at an east London store.

The GMB union has demanded that the company properly train managerial staff after a member said she was subjected to discriminatory remarks by bosses who had tried to force her to work on Saturday, the Jewish sabbath.

The worker, who has 30 years’ service, said she was questioned for 20 minutes about her religion and was told that, as Sunday wasn’t a religious day for her, she should work those days instead, despite her having exercised the legal right to opt out of Sunday working for more than 20 years.

Managers told her that they were following company guidelines, but the member took out a grievance which was upheld at a more senior level.

In her statement to the hearing, the member of staff, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had never felt so upset in 50 years of working, adding: “I felt like I was being victimised or discriminated against because of being Jewish, which is very upsetting.”

GMB regional organiser Keith Dixon said the incident happened despite the retailer having robust anti-discrimination policies.

“Unfortunately, Asda needs to read them and ensure that managers understand and follow those policies,” he said.

“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 its managers understand its own policies.”

An Asda spokesperson said: “We are an inclusive business and wholly respect that colleagues may be unable to work on certain days to observe religious practises.

“After discussing the needs of this colleague, the in-store team, and our customers, we were able to agree she will not be required to work on Saturdays.”


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