• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Tesco employee wins unfair dismissal case

The retail giant had sacked a store manager at its Peterborough branch for gifting sex toys to a female colleague

File photo of a Tesco store sign, in Warrington, Britain, January 13, 2022. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo/File Photo

By: Shajil Kumar

AN EMPLOYMENT tribunal has cleared an Asian-origin Tesco employee of misconduct and pulled up his employers for lapses while investigating the case.

The retail giant had sacked Shoaib Razaq, a store manager at its Peterborough branch, for giving a female colleague a vibrator as a “secret Santa” gift and a dildo for her birthday, The Times reports.

While dismissing Razaq, Tesco said he had abused his position to harass a woman employee.

The management took this decision even though the recipient acknowledged that the Razaq had given it to her in a “joking manner” as other staff members also handed out sex toys.

The hearing in Cambridge was told that Razaq joined Tesco in 2020 and became a store manager at the Hampton Vale Express branch, where an employee raised a grievance against him.

That complaint alleged that Razaq encouraged staff to sit on his lap in the office and that he took money from the shop’s charity tins — allegations that he denied.

Razaq told the tribunal that he was the victim of a “witch hunt” and the person who raised a grievance was a racist.

When asked about the secret Santa present, he conceded it was a terrible decision.

When Tesco bosses interviewed the woman employee whom he had gifted a sex toy, she told them that other employees also got sex toys as random gifts, but this was done in a joking manner.

She claimed she had experienced similar behaviour at other stores.

The tribunal judge, Niran de Silva KC, upheld Razaq’s claim and concluded that the Tesco bosses had not properly investigated the misconduct claims.

They did not probe the specific allegations against the store manager, but dismissed him based on a general sense that Razaq’s conduct was inappropriate.

A hearing to decide Razaq’s compensation will be held at a later date.

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