Gift shop sacked him. Now he gets a donation to sue

By Adam Henderson, August 21, 2014
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A man who claims he was fired for being Jewish has got cash backing from the community to take his former employers to court.

Jonathan Litewski, 26, had been working part-time over the summer at Old Town Context, an independent souvenir gift shop in Edinburgh.

He says he was dismissed without warning after his boss claimed his political views changed when he returned from a Birthright trip to Israel.

His former employers deny this, insisting the decision was based on his poor performance.

Mr Litewski said: "There was no witness, no warning, nothing to sign.

"She told me: 'I don't know what happened to you in Israel but since you've come back your work has gone downhill and you've become a completely different person - not one we want working for our company.'

"It only lasted about two minutes, then she escorted me off the
premises."

He claims he was once asked to remove a Magen David necklace because it would make customers think the store was pro-Israel.

Mr Litewski has instructed a lawyer and is applying for legal aid but says he has a pledge of £1,000 if he needs it.

Michael Weiger, the chief executive of UJIA, said: "The money is coming from senior community leaders who want to support the young man.

"They asked me to communicate that to him because they knew he was on Birthright."

UJIA runs Birthright programmes which take Jews aged 20-26 on educational and cultural tours of Israel.

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities confirmed it has helped Mr Litewski find "professional advice" in the dispute.

Andrew McRae, the owner of Old Town Context, said: "The grounds for Mr Litewski's dismissal were solely performance-related, which was made clear to him.

"We do not condone any form of racial or religious discrimination and would treat any such allegations of inappropriate behaviour from anyone connected with our business very seriously indeed.

"We understand that Mr Litewski may be aggrieved at being asked to leave our employment, but he has not at any time raised concerns with us that he was treated differently as a result of his religious beliefs, because it did not happen."

    Last updated: 3:45pm, August 21 2014