Friday, 2 December 2011

£7,000 payout for Muslim woman who wore a headscarf to job interview

A GRIMSBY bakery – found to have discriminated against a headscarf-wearing Muslim woman on religious grounds – is asking top judges to block a similar case being brought by her husband.

Country Style Foods Limited was ordered to pay Latvian-born Anastasija Bouzir about £7,000 in compensation following an employment tribunal's ruling that it failed to offer her a job at its bread factory in Wickham Road, after she wore a Muslim headscarf to her interview.

The tribunal rejected the race discrimination claims of Mrs Bouzir's husband, Noureddine – who claimed he was turned down for a similar job because of his Algerian origins – but the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) later granted him another hearing.

The food company, whose headquarters are in Leeds and which operates five plants around the UK, is now challenging that decision in London's Appeal Court, insisting it employs workers from many different countries and cultures and in no way discriminated against Mr Bouzir.

In its ruling, the EAT set out how Mr Bouzir and his wife, who both live in Grimsby and have experience in the food industry, applied for jobs at the bakery in 2009, when about 30 positions were vacant.

When interviewed, Algerian-born Mr Bouzir's marriage certificate and national insurance card – both of which were later agreed to be valid – were questioned and his interview was discontinued.

After agreeing she would remove her headscarf at work for hygiene reasons, Islamic convert Mrs Bouzir was initially told of an induction day at the bakery, but was later informed her job application was unsuccessful.

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