A Muslim engineer at a supply plant for nuclear reactors has been awarded £3,500 after his colleagues falsely accused him of having extremist Islamic views.
Mo Master told an employment tribunal that fellow workers at Springfields Fuels, near Preston, had alleged he had said that British troops “deserved to die”.
Religion and belief discrimination
Master, who had worked at the site for 28 years, was also accused of becoming “vocal about Allah” and employees expressed concern that he could have access to material that could be used to make a “dirty bomb”.
His manager, Tim Berry, alerted the police that Master might be a security risk based on the allegations.
Berry told the tribunal: “Mo had changed. They [other colleagues] said that recently he had become a lot more outspoken, that he would say British troops in the Middle East deserved to die.
“He would be quite vocal about Allah whereas before Allah was rarely mentioned, and he was prepared to voice opinions whereas before he would be quite quiet about things.”
Simon Johnson, the plant’s head of security, also filed a report to the Office for Nuclear Regulation, which contacted Prevent, the government’s anti-terrorism agency.
Master took voluntary redundancy in 2018, receiving £70,000. The first time he heard of the reports to the authorities was when Prevent came to his home and questioned him three months later, although no action was taken.
At this point he decided to bring a claim for religious discrimination. He also accused Springfields Fuels of stopping flexible working that would allow him to attend Friday prayers, and that a colleague said to him “we live in a Christian country who has given you permission to go and pray during working hours”.
The reports to the authorities swung the judgment for Master, however.
Judge Mark Leach said that Johnson had reported his concerns to the regulator “not as an unsubstantiated rumour but as a fact”. The comment about British troops had not been made, the tribunal heard, and reporting these allegations amounted to religious discrimination.
Although Master won £3,500 in compensation, he was ordered to pay Springfields Fuels £7,622 in costs after making a series of other claims that were dismissed by the tribunal, including constructive dismissal and disability discrimination.