For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Muslim couple accuse Morrisons of refusing them holidays during Ramadan
Updated 5:40pm Monday 7th April 2014 in News
A MARRIED Muslim couple have taken Morrisons to an employment tribunal after claiming they were refused holidays during the holy month of Ramadan.
Donna Tunkara, 32, and her husband Yassin, 31, from Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, brought the claim against the supermarket giant, where they worked for eight years at its warehouse in Stockton.
She claimed the stress of working night shifts while fasting led her to suffer a breakdown and be admitted to a mental hospital.
Claiming religious discrimination, she said they asked for a two-week holiday during Ramadan in August 2012 but were turned down unfairly.
The holy month requires fasting during the day, and the long hours of daylight that summer meant the discipline was particularly tough that year.
Mr Tunkara, who was born in Sierra Leone and cannot read or write English, claims constructive dismissal after he resigned from the firm the following February.
But Philip Crowe, solicitor for Morrisons, told the employment tribunal at Teesside Magistrates Court that the couple were not telling the truth.
Responding to Mr Tunkara's claim that he was racially abused at work, Mr Crowe said: "You have a history of telling lies and being found out."
Mr Crowe said employees knew summer holidays must be booked by the end of February, and were available on a first-come, first-served basis. But the couple did not apply for leave until March, by which time other colleagues had booked time off.
The unemployed couple, who are representing themselves at the hearing, claim they asked for leave as soon as the dates for Ramadan were confirmed by their mosque.
The case is listed until Friday and continues tomorrow (Thursday).