Blog: BLT sparks religious discrimination suit
Catherine Sleep | 13 August 2004
An administrative assistant is suing her former employer for discrimination after it fired her for eating food it considered unclean. Rising Star telecommunications company has strong Muslim ties and is reported to have implemented a policy banning pork and pork products on company premises. Lina Morales, who is Catholic, was apparently warned for eating pizza with ham on it, and later fired after she ate a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.
It’s an interesting one. Legally, it’s hard to see how the company can win this one. It has a responsibility to provide equal opportunities for people of all religions, and Morales never signed anything to say she wouldn’t eat pork.
That said, if eating pork is going to cause offence to the majority of people around you, surely you can choose another sandwich for the sake of workplace harmony and as a courtesy to your colleagues, I should have thought. It’s shocking to see this kind of situation escalate as far as the courts when a bit of give and take on both sides could doubtless have nipped it in the bud at an early stage.
Remember that scene in Friends where Rachel is trying to convince her employer why he should keep her on despite her making a big mistake? Her biggest selling point seems to be that “I’m not litigious, and I’m… not litigious”. This way of thinking is still foreign to us Brits, but it’s becoming less so with the rapidly increasing hordes of lawyers egging us on to file Personal Injury Claims and the like. We’re becoming less stoical and instead of taking things on the chin, we’re more often looking for someone to sue. Not a national trend to be proud of, methinks.
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