A Metropolitan Police HR manager was accused of “pulling faces and making racist gestures” during a meeting with a Muslim catering manager called because he refused to cook bacon, an employment tribunal was told yesterday.
Hasanali Khoja, 60, said when he called a meeting to discuss his objections to cooking pork for religious reasons, his line manager told him he could lose his job if he failed to follow instructions.
Khoja claimed he felt he was at risk of contact with pork products at his interview for a senior catering manager job with the Metropolitan Police Service, but said he was assured he would not have to handle food as it was a supervisory role.
He started work at a police training centre in 2005, but after being transferred to a kitchen at Heathrow airport in 2007 he was told he had to prepare, cook and serve all food products, including bacon and pork sausages.
Khoja said: “The meeting was very threatening because I was reminded several times that if I refused to accept management instructions my job was at risk.”
He added that in a follow-up meeting the HR manager pulled a face, making a gesture towards Khoja as if he was an alien. “I was very humiliated and stressed out and was unable to continue,” Khoja said.
Khoja, who is now employed in another part of the Metropolitan Police catering structure, has alleged racial discrimination, religious discrimination and unlawful deduction of wages.
The Met has declined to comment ahead of the trial’s conclusion. The hearing continues.