Asda worker sacked for ‘racist’ comment to customer says she was trying to stop panic buying

An Asda employee who was fired after a customer complained that she had hurled a racist slurs at them about their Asian heritage claimed that she actually blamed them for panicking.

Samantha Doherty received the boot after an argument with a customer during the height of the coronavirus pandemic when panic buying saw shoppers keep items such as toilet rolls, pasta and rice in bulk.

The buyer complained to Asda’s bosses when Doherty told them, “We see this all the time with people like you.”

When the mortified client claimed Doherty’s comments referred to their Asian ethnicity, Asda investigated Doherty’s behavior during a disciplinary hearing.

At the hearing, Doherty admitted to insulting the client and agreed that his words could have been taken to refer to their race.

Despite this, Doherty insisted his comments only referred to panicked buyers during the coronavirus lockdown and claimed the buyer was buying inventory in bulk at the time of the dispute.

After being fired, she sued the supermarket giant for unfair dismissal, but her claim that she was only trying to panic shoppers was rejected in court.

Employment judge RS Drake said: “I have noted that [Ms Doherty] could not establish that she had clarified this context at the time of the incident or during the disciplinary process.

“What mattered to the Respondent were the words actually used and how they would be and were understood by the client in question who raised a complaint about them.”

The court struck out the appeal, ruling that it “had no reasonable chance of success.”

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