Employer must pay £16,000 to Jewish woman in discrimination case

A car rental firm has been ordered to pay £16,000 to a Jewish woman after discriminating against her when she applied for a job.

The tribunal was told that Aurelie Fhima was interviewed for a job with Travel Jigsaw, which is based in Manchester. During her interview she revealed that she observed Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest that lasts from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. This meant she would not be able to work on Saturdays.

The company rejected her application and sent her a rejection 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.”

She asked the company to reconsider its position but it declined. She then began a claim of indirect discrimination on the grounds of religion.

The company claimed Ms Fhima had lied about her willingness to work on Saturdays during an initial phone call and then admitted the lie during the full interview.

Ms Fhima denied that she lied. The tribunal found in her favour and awarded her £16,000 damages to compensate for her loss of earnings and injury to her feelings.

Travel Jigsaw told the Daily Telegraph that it was disappointed with the way the case had been presented to the tribunal and added that it employs an “extremely diverse workforce with colleagues representing 65 nationalities”.

The case is a reminder that the law doesn’t only protect employees but job applicants as well.

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