Supermarket Worker Resigns Over Poppy Row
6 June 2013, 06:35
Morrisons is being threatened with an unfair dismissal claim, over the Portsmouth worker who was suspended for wearing a Lee Rigby tribute.
Checkout assistant Adam Austin was temporarily suspended from the supermarket for wearing a Help for Heroes wristband and a poppy, in support of murdered soldier Lee Rigby. He's now resigned.
Mr Austin's suspension was ultimately lifted but he decided he could not continue working at the Victory Retail Park store after being questioned by management on his return about wearing the wristband and small poppy badge.
Human rights group Liberty, which is now representing the 28-year-old from Portsmouth, has threatened the chain with an unfair dismissal claim if it does not issue a full apology and pay him compensation for lost earnings.
Mr Austin's suspension was ultimately lifted but he decided he could not continue working at the Victory Retail Park store after being questioned by management on his return about wearing the wristband and small poppy badge, Liberty said.
Liberty argues this was a "constructive dismissal" as Mr Austin resigned in response to one or more breaches of his contract.
After Mr Austin was suspended last month, a Morrisons spokesman explained that staff were generally prohibited from wearing extra items to prevent objects falling into food products.
"It's all about food hygiene. The rules are the same in a restaurant kitchen as they are in a supermarket food preparation area.
"We have a dress code and the dress code is primarily around the health and safety of the staff member and the members of the public.''
The company reinstated him on Thursday 27 May. In a statement, it said it had "got the balance wrong" and said it backed the armed forces.