Muslims at the Till: Between Common Sense and Media Hyperbole
Tuesday, 24 December 2013
news that a Muslim employee of the store M&S allegedly refused to serve a
customer because he (or she) was handling alcohol, the Muslim Council of
Britain issued the following statement, part of which was only mentioned in
some news reports:
of each case should be looked at on its own merits and a solution should be
found taking into account the circumstances and nature of business. It is not
possible to have one policy which will suit all as is evident from the different
approaches adopted by different employers. We do note, however, that
in the current media furore, the media has failed to mention that the said
company makes similar accommodations for those of other faiths.
employer can refuse Muslim employees permission to be excused for serving
alcohol or pork because it would impact on customer service as has
happened in this case. Perhaps the solution should have been to deploy the
Muslim employee who objected to serve alcohol or pork on tasks away from till.
Employers should accommodate reasonable requests on the basis of
religious beliefs. It is enshrined in law and makes good business sense because
it enhances the output of employees. if their needs are met and they feel that
employers are sensitive to their religious and cultural practices.'
addition, the Muslim Council of Britain notes:
urge the members of the media to be cautious when reporting such cases. This is
the latest moral panic against Muslims generated in the media. It divides
society and does not help bring about genuine accommodation between people'.
For more information, read MCB's Good Practice Guide for Employers and Employees.