A Jewish woman won £16,000 damages from a travel firm after it rejected her job application because her religion prevented her from working Saturdays. So, what happened?

Ms Fhima sent her CV to Travel Jigsaw and was invited to a face to face interview.  Her application was turned down after she revealed she observed Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest which lasts from sundown on Friday until sunset on Saturday and prevents work of any kind.

Bosses at Travel Jigsaw sent her a letter after the interview which said, “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.”

Legal Action

Ms Fhima, 23, asked the firm to review its decision and when it refused, launched legal action, claiming indirect discrimination on the grounds of religion.

Employment Tribunal judges found in her favour, awarding almost £8,000 for loss of earnings, £7,500 for injury to feelings and £1,200 in fees.

Obligations

Ms Fhima’s lawyer said that “This case serves as an important reminder to employers of the obligations they have to job applicants – not just their employees. It also shows that many large employers still fail to understand the law surrounding discrimination.”

Tip – When you reject a candidate, don’t say anything other than “you’ve not been successful on this occasion”.  By linking Ms Fhima’s religious observance to a lack of flexibility on her part, Travel Jigsaw dug itself a big hole.

What can you do?

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