Muslim staff working for Marks & Spencer have been given permission to refuse to serve customers buying alcohol or pork products.
Its policy decision has highlighted a split among the big food retailers over whether religious staff should be excused certain jobs.In contrast to M&S, Sainsbury’s said it had issued official guidelines that stated there was no reason why staff who did not drink alcohol or eat pork for religious reasons could not handle the goods. The advice followed consultations with religious groups, said a spokesman. Tesco said it treated each case on its merits, but said it “made no sense” to employ staff on a till who refused to touch certain items for religious reasons.
At M&S, Muslim staff who do not wish to handle alcohol or pork have been told they can politely request that customers choose another till at which to pay.At one of its stores in central London last week, customers waiting with goods that included pork or alcohol were told by a Muslim checkout worker to wait until another till became available. The assistant was extremely apologetic at having to ask customers to wait.
An M&S spokesman said: “We recognise that some of our employees practise religions that restrict the food or drink they can handle, or that mean they cannot work at certain times.
“M&S promotes an environment free from discrimination and so, where specific requests are made, we will always make reasonable adjustments to accommodate them, whilst ensuring high levels of customer service.”
Så vidt jeg kan se diskriminerer M&S mod alkoholdrikkende og svinekødspisende kunder.