Marks & Spencer has had to defuse a minor row in the United Kingdom after a Muslim cashier refused to scan a bottle of alcohol. The chain stated that its normal procedures demand that an employee’s beliefs are being taken into consideration, but that things went wrong this time.
The row started after an employee refused to scan a bottle of alcohol and pointed the customer to another cash register. Islam does not allow the consumption or sale of alcohol, something Marks & Spencer normally takes into consideration when appointing tasks.
Similar internal guidelines state that Christians do not have to work on Sunday, while Jews do not have to work on Saturday. "It is unfortunate that our own internal policy had not been followed in this particular case,” an M&S spokesperson admitted to The Telegraph. “M&S promotes an environment free from discrimination and so, where specific requests are made, we will always make reasonable adjustments to accommodate them.”
Other chains carry religion policy as well
Other British chains have an internal policy regarding beliefs and religion as well, but a chain like Sainsbury’s expects all employees to handle every product. “If a belief involves not eating or drinking something in particular, they can still handle the food or drink as part of their job.”
At Morrissons and Tesco employees can, like with M&S, point out which parts of the job they cannot perform and both chains try to respect those choices where possible. “It would not make sense to have somebody on the till if they cannot handle certain items,” a Tesco spokesperson revealed to The Telegraph.
(Translated by Gary Peeters)