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Don't want to sell pork? Fine by us, Marks and Spencer tell its Jewish staff

    A Jewish employee does not have to handle M&S pork sausages (Photo: M&S)
    A Jewish employee does not have to handle M&S pork sausages (Photo: M&S)

    Marks & Spencer has said that Jewish employees do not have to serve pig products at tills to its customers, if it goes against their religious beliefs.

    On Sunday the store confirmed a report that Muslim employees could refuse to serve customers purchasing alcohol or pig meat. At an M&S store in London last week, customers queuing to purchase pork and alcohol were told by a Muslim checkout worker to wait until another till became available.

    A customer was reported in the Sunday Telegraph as saying: “I had one bottle of champagne, and the lady, who was wearing a headscarf, was very apologetic but said she could not serve me.”

    A Jewish employee does not have to handle M&S pork sausages (Photo: M&S)
    A Jewish employee does not have to handle M&S pork sausages (Photo: M&S)

    M&S later confirmed that this was company policy. It said: “We recognise that some of our employees practise religions that restrict the food or drink they can handle, or that mean they cannot work at certain times.

    “M&S promotes an environment free from discrimination and so, where specific requests are made, we will always make reasonable adjustments to accommodate them.”

    Asked by the JC if this extended to Jewish workers who did not wish to sell pig products or seafood, a spokesman confirmed that it was the case.

    The spokesman said that, with regard to staff who did not wish to sell meat and milk together, a decision would be made “on a case-by-case basis”.

    Sainsbury’s said it does not allow staff who do not drink alcohol or eat pork to refuse to sell such goods.

    Tesco said it treated each case on its merits but that it “made no sense” to employ staff on a till who refuse to touch some foods.

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