Tesco worker levels racism charge against fellow employees, sues supermarket for colleague farting in his face
42-year-old Atif Masood claims he has been repeatedly targeted by his coworkers because of his religion and received abuse through 'derogatory' messages on Whatsapp
A supermarket employee is suing the chain for over $26,000 on claims that he suffered repeated racism from his colleagues. The 42-year-old employee, Atif Masood, has been working at Tesco since 2006 and is currently a customer assistant at a branch in Thornton Heath, South London. He has now demanded compensation for the relentless bullying he has been the target of because of his religion.
According to the Daily Mail, Masood claims that a colleague farted in his face while another watched and laughed. The 42-year-old said he believes he's being targeted by his colleagues at the store and stated in legal papers filed with the London South employment tribunal that it was because he was Pakistani.
Citing these papers, the Evening Standard also reported on how Masood had received abuse on numerous occasions on Whatsapp. He said the messages were "derogatory" and that he was hurt after allegedly receiving comments such as "Muslims are terrorists". He also claimed he was called a "liar" in front of customers.
The documents state that the farting incident occurred in December 2017 and that another coworker was witness to it. Both are then said to have started laughing at the 42-year-old after one of them "broke wind in his face". Masood says he raised the matter internally but had to escalate the matter to the employment tribunal after no action was taken.
Through his lawyers, Rahman Lowe Solicitors, Masood said that the incident was "unwanted conduct which had the purpose or effect of violating his dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and/or offensive [situation]."
In February, Tesco denied that Masood suffered racism, though they said that an internal investigation into the matter did reveal there was sufficient evidence to back the worker's claims that his colleague had farted in his face and laughed at him. They said that their investigation found that the incident and statements were intended as "a joke".
The supermarket chain also sent its own papers to the employment tribunal where they alleged that Masood failed to substantiate allegations.
The papers also denied all claims on behalf of the employees accused by the 42-year-old worker. They wrote, "for the avoidance of any doubt, the respondents deny that they discriminated against (whether directly or indirectly), harassed or victimized the claimant because of, or for a reason related to race, religion or belief, as alleged in the claim form, or at all."
They also denied the allegations in a statement and insisted that they did not discriminate among their employees. "Everyone is welcome at Tesco regardless of their gender, race, background or education," a spokesman told the Daily Mail. "We are unable to comment on ongoing legal proceedings or the specifics of this case." A hearing on the incident is scheduled to take place at the employment tribunal sometime next year.