‘No Saturdays’ jobseeker awarded £16,000 - Palmers Solicitors

‘No Saturdays’ jobseeker awarded £16,000

A Jewish job claimant has been awarded £16,000 after she was turned down for a job because her faith prevented her from working on Saturdays.

Aurelie Fhima had applied for a job at a car rental company Travel Jigsaw Ltd’s call centre, in which she would have had to work on five out of every seven days.

At an interview, she said that because she observed Shabbat – the Jewish day of rest – she could not work on Saturdays but was prepared to work every Sunday if necessary.

She subsequently received a letter saying: ““After careful consideration we cannot offer you a position at this time. We are still looking for people who are flexible enough to work Saturdays.”

An employment tribunal in Manchester ruled at the end of May that the requirement that Ms Fhima be available to work on Saturdays was not an objective justification – a reason that justifies exemptions to discrimination law – for a policy that discriminated against religious Jews unable to work on that day. It awarded her £7,500 for injury to feelings almost £8,000 in loss of earnings and £1,200 in tribunal fees.

A spokesman for Travel Jigsaw said: “The company is extremely disappointed with the judgement in this case that was brought by an unsuccessful job applicant, and in the way in which the case was presented to the tribunal. Travel Jigsaw employs an extremely diverse workforce with colleagues representing 65 nationalities.”

Palmers’ employment law team specialist Lara Murray said: “This case serves as a useful reminder to employers that anti-discrimination legislation extends beyond their duty to their employees to include job applicants and others.

“An employer whose requirements have an adverse impact on people of a particular faith or belief must have a robust justification for those policies or they could be at risk of tribunal action, with potentially serious and costly consequences, as in this case. For more information on employment law issues, please contact us.”