A Muslim car salesman in Southampton has been awarded £3,000 after his boss said Allah was the devil then farted while apologising.
Temitayo Ajala had been selling a car at Doves Vauxhall in May 2019 when a customer told him she needed to pray at home before deciding, according to a Metro report of an employment tribunal.
But when Ajala – who was the only Muslim sales executive at the branch – explained the situation to boss Lyndon Parker and commented that Christianity’s God and Allah were the same, Parker didn’t agree.
“Mr Parker says he felt cornered and threatened and that in answer to repeated questions from Mr Ajala asking him to justify his statement, he stated calmly that his faith led him to believe Allah was not god and that Allah was the devil,” according to the tribunal’s reserved judgment.
Parker was then ordered by dealership manager Darren Barnaby to apologise but farted and laughed when he did so.
The tribunal was told that Ajala emailed Barnaby about it, saying: “Sorry Darren but I must add as it has been bothering me throughout yesterday that the apology you said I would receive from Lyndon was delivered to me with jokes, justification and most disgustingly a very loud fart. Yes, he did do a loud fart and giggle during the so-called apology. I hope this behaviour changes before I return.”
Judge Catherine Rayner ruled that Ajala was unlawfully harassed for a reason related to religion or belief and awarded him £3,000 for injury to feeling because of the Allah comment, with Cambria Automoibiles, which owns the dealership, also being ordered to pay another £520 in interest.
She said: “We find that the remark made by Mr Parker was an inherently offensive remark to make, particularly to a black Muslim employee who was his junior. We find it did offend and upset Mr Ajala both at the time and subsequently. We find this was a violation of his dignity as a Muslim man in the workplace, and that it created, at the time, an offensive and hostile environment for Mr Ajala.”
However, claims of victimisation as well as direct discrimination on the grounds of race or religion were dismissed.
Ajala was employed as a sales executive at Doves from December 2018 until December 2019 when he was dismissed for gross misconduct.
A separate claim by Ajala for unfair dismissal was struck out as he hadn’t worked at Doves for more than two years.