back to top

Christian Sports Direct Worker Claims He Was Forced To Work Sundays

The allegation is due to be heard at Croydon employment tribunal.

Posted on

Sports Direct is facing an employment tribunal on Wednesday as a member of staff accuses the retailer of harassment and religious and disability discrimination.

Documents due to be considered by the tribunal – seen by BuzzFeed News – claim the worker was made to work on Sundays, despite telling staff he was a practising Christian.

The worker says in the document that he requested Sundays off but that bosses "constantly roster me to work on Sundays which resulted in me taking time off unpaid and as a consequence I have suffered financial loss".

He says he then had an accident at work, making it hard for him to get around, and that the company did nothing to help him back to work and attempted to force him to quit.

The document says:

I suffered injury at work due to the negligence of my managers and as a result have suffered serious injury. I requested the company to make reasonable adjustment to my working pattern in 2015. The company refused to make reasonable adjustment to my working pattern to accommodate my needs to allow flexible working. Company had been trying to stage my dismissal since August 2015 and has been making several attempts to victimise and harass me at work.

Following his injury, the documents claim, he was transferred from the Putney, west London, store to another one – but the new site was far larger, making it even harder for him to get around.

He says in the filing:

I was transferred by the company unreasonably from my employer to a store which was not reasonable for me to accommodate due to the nature of my disability. Company was very well aware as per my flexible working application that I am unable to attend the store where I was transferred to. This was done to further victim and harasses me to ensure I suffered loss of warning and further detriment.

The claim also adds that the worker was made to work above and beyond his paid hours. Similar allegations have already been highlighted in parliament by the business select committee.

He adds: "I have been subjected to harassment by my store manager."

The allegations and case, which will be heard at Croydon employment tribunal on Wednesday morning, come a week after BuzzFeed News revealed that Sports Direct could be paying staff less than the minimum wage by forcing workers to arrive 15 minutes before their shift begins.

Some workers have been disciplined for being "late" despite arriving in time for the start of their actual paid work.

Sports Direct, which is owned by billionaire businessman Mike Ashley, has faced a difficult year, with a committee of MPs slamming the business and comparing the company's working practices in its warehouse to a Victorian workhouse.

Ashley has promised a review into company practices, but a group of shareholders led by Unite the union have forced through a resolution at the company's upcoming annual general meeting calling on Sports Direct to conduct a more fulsome look at the business with independent advisors.

The board of directors has told shareholders they should vote against the resolution.

BuzzFeed News contacted Sports Direct for a comment but had received no response at the time of publication.

Simon Neville is business editor at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

Contact Simon Neville at simon.neville@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.