Press Esc to close
Saturday 30 August 2014
News updated at 9:21 AM IST
Weather
Max: 25.6°C
Min : 19.7°C
In Bangalore
Generally cloudy

Marks & Spencer in row over Muslim alcohol sales refusal

London, Dec 23, 2013 (AFP)
Marks & Spencer in row over Muslim alcohol sales refusal Reuters Image

British retailer Marks & Spencer faced criticism today after it emerged that it allows Muslim staff to refuse to sell customers pork and alcohol.

More than 8,000 people have signed up to a Facebook page calling for a boycott of the chain after an "extremely apologetic" Muslim checkout worker told a customer they would have to wait for another employee to sell them a bottle of champagne.

M&S, which is Britain's biggest clothing retailer as well as selling food and homeware, said that when employees have religious beliefs that restrict what foods or drinks they can handle it tries to place them in a "suitable role".


"We regret that in the case highlighted we were not following our own internal policy," a company spokeswoman said.

"As a secular business we have an inclusive policy that welcomes all religious beliefs whether across our customer or employee base."

But the "Boycott Marks and Spencer" Facebook page said the policy was an affront to "common sense".

The issue emerged after an unnamed customer told the Daily Telegraph newspaper the worker had refused to sell them champagne at a London store and that they would have to wait for another till to become available.

"I was taken aback," the customer told the newspaper. "I was a bit surprised. I've never come across that before."

Drinking alcohol and pork consumption are forbidden in Islam.

The row highlighted differences among British retailers' policies on whether staff should be allowed to refuse to sell certain products on religious grounds.

Like M&S, supermarket chains Asda, Morrisons and Tesco said Muslim staff would not have to work on the tills if they objected to handling specific products.

But the head of high street retailer John Lewis said staff should not have the right to refuse to serve customers.

"This is taking it one stage beyond common sense," managing director Andy Street told BBC radio.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Union Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda during a visit to Ernakulam railway station in Kochi ...

Union Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda during a visit to Ernakulam railway station in Kochi ...

Bomb Squad members checking a suspected bag found at Bandra Station in Mumbai ...

Bomb Squad members checking a suspected bag found at Bandra Station in Mumbai ...

Red Cross workers walk through an Ebola hit area  in Monrovia, Liberia ...

Red Cross workers walk through an Ebola hit area in Monrovia, Liberia ...

Models take part in awareness campaign 'Save Ganga and Green India' in Bhopal ...

Models take part in awareness campaign 'Save Ganga and Green India' in Bhopal ...

Siddaramiah presenting kit to a beneficiary  during launch of 'Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana' ...

Siddaramiah presenting kit to a beneficiary during launch of 'Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana' ...

Ganesh idol made of dry fruits ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai ...

Ganesh idol made of dry fruits ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai ...

A young girl viewing Ganesh statues for sale on the eve of the Ganesh Chaturthi in Jaipur ...

A young girl viewing Ganesh statues for sale on the eve of the Ganesh Chaturthi in Jaipur ...

Team owners Sachin Tendulkar and Ranbir Kapoor during the launch of Indian Super League ...

Team owners Sachin Tendulkar and Ranbir Kapoor during the launch of Indian Super League ...

John Abraham, signs a football during the launch of the Indian Super League, in Mumbai ...

John Abraham, signs a football during the launch of the Indian Super League, in Mumbai ...

Founding chairperson Nita Ambani at the launch of the Indian Super League in Mumbai ...

Founding chairperson Nita Ambani at the launch of the Indian Super League in Mumbai ...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523