Religion and discrimination claims – why let common sense get in the way?
From the Solicitors Journal 08/08/11:
A Sikh council worker who refused to join an office fridge-cleaning rota because his religious beliefs banned him from touching or handling meat products could* be the victim of discrimination, the EAT has ruled.
*My emphasis! ;-)
The EAT heard that although all Sikhs were not necessarily banned from eating or touching meat, the claimant was a member of a revivalist branch with different rules.
A revivalist branch? *Rolls eyes*. OK, OK, carry on officer. ;-)
Delivering judgment in Chatwal v Wandsworth Borough Council(UKEAT/0487/10/JOJ), Recorder Luba said Mr Chatwal was a customer services adviser in the council’s technical services department.
Recorder Luba said that in 2008 the council introduced a requirement that staff using the communal kitchen must take part in cleaning the fridge.
“Having declined to comply with the fridge cleaning requirement, he did not participate in the rota and was, in consequence, not able to use the kitchen any longer.”
Oh for goodness’ sake: are Revivalist Sikhs prevented from popping on a pair of marigolds now? Or what’s stopping him scraping it out with a spatula and keeping the suspicious remains safely at arms’ length? Given the hideous condition of most workplace fridges and the diabolical remnants that lurk within, surely that’s what any sensible person would do, regardless of their ‘religion’.
And don’t get me wrong – I’ve every respect for religion and religious beliefs, but this is just silly.